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My horse doesn't wind suck when he cribs, but tears apart his stall. We've had to replace a portion of the stall where he chewed through the stall and left a hole about two by two feet! We've tried four different nasty tasting sprays and slapping his nose. He has a cone in his stall and a mineral block. I'm thinking about getting a muzzle, but I think they're inhumane. Help!

- C.


I assume you've read my discussion about cribbing. If you've tried making the wood taste bad, Your horse probably isn't chewing just because he likes wood. When you turn him out, does he continue to chew on anything available? If not, he may simply be frustrated about being confined and need more turn-out time (perhaps even 24/7). If your answer is yes, he may be a big-time endorphin junkie - and it may be time to have a serious chat with your vet about endorphin-blocker treatment.


He loves chewing on trees outside. I live in NH so it's impossible to let him out 24 - 7! It's way too cold. A standardbred mare who was at my barn cribbed and that got my horse going. Now all the horses do it. Some not as bad as others, though.

What's Endorphin?

- C.


Endorphins are the powerful chemicals your body produces that make you feel "good." Even a good laugh can trigger them. Compulsive pleasure-seekers (including some cribbing horses) get an addictive high from that chemical.

If all of your horses are chewing on trees, they may have simply acquired a taste for wood. To counter that taste, take a good look at what else is on their menu. Horses are grazers - to have their digestive systems work right (and feel good) horses need plenty of roughage around the clock. If they don't get it, they may try to replace it with wood. Also, some types of wood contain a chemical similar to aspirin - which also may make a horse feel better.

As for it being too cold in your neck of the woods, take a look at where I live. We get temperatures colder than 60 below zero F. here. At those temperatures, the horses are given free access to a walk-in shelter and the arena building. Usually, they prefer to stay outside - as long as they have shelter from the wind.

Happy Riding!

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