Ugh, The Cribber

I’ve never had a horse that cribbed. That is, until I took the lease on Georgie. I wish I could still say that I’ve never had a horse that cribbed, because cribbing and caring for a cribber has been ulcer inducing. For both of us.

I knew Georgie cribbed when I got her. Her owner allowed her to crib and you could hear her sucking air from across the indoor as she was getting tacked up. About 5 months before I started leasing her she was diagnosed with ulcers, but I was never given much information about it, and nothing in her routine changed as a result of the diagnosis.

Then, about 4 months into my lease, Georgie had a mild bout of gas colic. A vet visit and Banamine and she was back to herself. But then, a month later, we had another colic. No worse, but still worth a vet visit. And then a third time, another month later. Now I was getting worried and frustrated. After consulting with my vets I decided to make some changes. Along with adding Smartpak supplements, I also added the dreaded cribbing collar.

The boys still think she's sexy, even with a cribbing collar

The boys still think she’s sexy, even with a cribbing collar

It’s been just over a year since Georgie’s last colic episode and she started wearing the collar, but I’m still struggling with the decision. Not because of the effect it’s had, but because of the controversy. How many of you have used cribbing collars or had cribbers? Do you feel like your horse is a bit of an outcast? Boarders have requested Georgie not live next to their horses for fear their horse may begin cribbing (does this REALLY happen?) and every trainer, teenager, horse owner, and 5 year old has an opinion about my horse’s cribbing collar. “It’s cruel” “It’s too tight” “She is still cribbing” “It can really hurt her” “She can’t breathe” And on and on.  My vet fully supports my decision to use the collar. And she fully supports how tight it is.  My vet is no longer getting called out for gas colic episodes, so Georgie must be feeling better. Yet, that very important fact seems to be forgotten by many others in the barn environment.

Leopard print fuzzy across her forehead. Doesn't that just scream "I love my horse?"

Leopard print fuzzy across her forehead. Doesn’t that just scream “I love my horse?”

If I had my choice, Georgie would never ever have to wear a cribbing collar. I hate the thing with a passion. I know its uncomfortable and she hates it. But she hates it because it keeps her from cribbing. And, cribbing seems to make her gas colic. And get ulcers. So guess what? She has to wear the stupid collar.

I will never ever knowingly take a lease or buy a horse who is a cribber again. It’s stressful and tough to watch your horse wear some tight collar, that looks a bit like a torture advice. And yes, Georgie is a SEVERE cribber, and all horses probably aren’t as dedicated to sucking air as she is. Do you have hints, tips, thoughts about cribbing? I would love to hear about it, and I would love to know I am not alone with this problem!


She was never a cribber, just a really great dog. RIP sweet Squirrel. We’ll always love and remember you.

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9 thoughts on “Ugh, The Cribber

  1. I have heard that if you treat and maintain the ulcers, that the cribbing will stop. My friend has been treating ulcers and I know that she has an entire regimen of aloevera juice to marshmallow root in order to keep her horse from getting ulcers. I know it can be an absolute pain, but maybe you can try different things that are proven to help ulcers and see if that helps? Eliminating the cribbing so she doesn’t have to wear the collar or colic would be AWESOME. I hope you’re able to get something figured out!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • nadsnovik says:

      Thanks! Yes, I had heard of the aloe vera juice, my vet recommended that. I can’t imagine Georgie ever NOT immediately cribbing given the chance but anything is worth a shot!


      • I don’t think it would be an instant switch but I think with addressing the cause then the behavior you can cause her to stop. I would absolutely look up research papers and definitely try to find people who have had horses that have stopped cribbing and see what they did! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I had a very nice barrel horse who was a very severe cribber. I mean the guy would crib on ANYTHING. Even a brand new truck he saw fit to use right in the middle of the hood. He was a quarter horse that had been left a stud and stalled too much. He became bored and nervous and thus the cribbing. I made him wear a cribbing collar, but I would allow him rest periods of up to a few hours a day, and when excersizing being off. I honestly think the collar saved his life. I’d stick with it and to heck with what everyone else says! As for other people not wanting to stall next to Georgie like their horses will learn this.. Idk.. My cribbed was pastured and stalled with dozens of horses on our farm throughout his 25 years and not one other horse “caught” his cribbing. Good lick!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. P.s. the over stalling and cribbing happened before he came to us.


  4. I’ve heard that horses don’t learn to crib–they either do it or they don’t. I haven’t had a cribber and they drive me nuts, so I don’t know. It is annoying, but without a collar, it’s really not correctable. The collar works, is cheap, and is vet approved. I’d stick with it.

    I did have a mare that liked to crush her own throat on stall fronts when she was stressed. That was super weird.

    Liked by 1 person

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