Controlling Cribbing in Horses

How can I work with a cribber so he can stop wearing his cribbing collar?

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Controlling Cribbing in Horses
Photo: The Horse Staff
Q. There is a new 3-year-old gelding in my barn. He cribs and wears a collar; the collar seems awfully tight to me.  A respected friend says that the other horses might pick up this habit from this horse. Is that true? And how can I work with this cribber so he can get rid of the collar?

Via e-mail

A. I had given up on answering cribbing questions. It’s probably the most common behavior problem for which owners seek help, and it’s frustrating because not much changes cribbing and not much is new.

Sometimes the collar has to be very tight to inhibit cribbing effectively, and sometimes even a very tight collar has little effect. (Here in the hospital we have had a a case or two of horses referred for evaluation because they would periodically collapse.  The end result of the evaluation was that the collapse we caused by very tight cribbing collars

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Written by:

Sue M. McDonnell, PhD, is a certified applied animal behaviorist and the founding head of the equine behavior program at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. She is also the author of numerous books and articles about horse behavior and management.

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