Freedom is a cribber. It’s controlled using a collar and so he’s worn one for the past few years almost all the time. I take it off whenever I’m at the barn to give him some time off.
But I didn’t make it to the barn yesterday. I don’t feed on Mondays and it was raining so I gave it a miss. Today I went over to ride before the farrier came. Immediately I could see something was wrong by the way he kept tilting his head. He let me put his halter on but he wouldn’t let me anywhere near the cribbing strap.
Poor boy. He wanted me to fix it. He kept putting his head up to my chest and nuzzling me, then flinging his head back and trying to rear if I tried to touch it. Although it had been put on using the same holes as usual (so not tighter) the rain and the heat must have caused it to rub.
Removing a cribbing strap from a horse that won’t let you touch it is difficult at best and dangerous at worse. I came up with two strategies: If I could get his head down the collar would loosen so I should be able to get it off easily. So my first attempt involved grass. Lots of grass. I brought him out to the large field and let him graze. Working sneakily, I was able to almost get the strap undone on the right side (he seemed more comfortable with me on the right). Unfortunately, it was not enough to get it off.
Moving on to my second idea, I gave him some Ace. Then I left him to graze. After about 15 minutes, I tried again. I spent a good 10 minutes working my hand up closer to the loose strap knowing that it would take only seconds to release it. Each time as I got close, he’d jerk away.
Onto my plan B. I called my vet and left a message. I felt stupid about needing a barn call to remove a cribbing strap but I thought that more sedation might be necessary.
Of course, seconds before she called me back, I got it off. The area around his poll looked raw and sore but should heal up pretty quickly. She told me that I wasn’t the first person who had to call her with cribbing collar problems. At least I got his off without injury to him or me.
I wish there was an alternative to keeping the collar on. The idea cribbing rings makes me cringe. For now I’ve left the collar off. I know he’ll crib overnight but so far it’s mostly destructive rather than dangerous. Knock on wood he hasn’t had any colic issues since I’ve owned him.
I’ve tried several different kinds of collars, even one with sheepskin on it. The one he’s been wearing is the Dare collar; in the past I’ve used the Miracle Collar.
Has anyone used a cribbing collar that works?