Cribbing is in Freedom’s DNA. He is not as bad as some cribbers: he can stand on a trailer for hours without cribbing, but without a collar, he will crib consistently. In fact the days before I ordered the Dare cribbing collar, he walked over to the fencepost near the gate and cribbed while I carried his hay over. He had one eye on me, aware that I don’t like him to crib, but he simply can’t resist.
I’ve tried a number of preventative measures without success. The Miracle collar did not work miracles; he destroyed the grazing muzzle in minutes (two of them); we put in special cribbing post to distract him from the fencing (he didn’t bite); and when I painted the fence with a product guaranteed to taste so terrible that your horse would never crib again, it didn’t slow him down, but just being downwind from the liquid as I painted, left a bad taste in my mouth for days. When Freedom’s most recent collar stretched to the point where it no longer was tight enough to prevent cribbing, I bought a Dare cribbing collar.
The cribbing collar designed by Rusty Dare, uses a patented, 3-dimensional throat piece design to prevent cribbing and a single, 1 3/4″ wide strap. Key to me were two things: the durability of the leather (previous cribbing straps stretched too much to be effective) and that it can be adjusted on both sides. I’ve had to punch holes in other collars and I liked the ability to adjust the tightness with more precision.
When the collar first arrived the leather was quite stiff and it was hard to get it tight enough. The collar became more flexible pretty quickly.
Although the collar is promoted as being one that can be fastened more loosely. That didn’t work; Freedom started cribbing right away. The good news is that making the collar tighter worked much better. He immediately stopped cribbing, at least when I’m around. One of the concerns about preventing a horse from cribbing is that their anxiety will manifest in other behaviors. I haven’t seen him acting out in any other ways. He will weave when I take Zelda away, but that’s not new.
I know that Freedom will never stop cribbing. For him it’s a soothing mechanism; he cribs more when he is anxious. However, cribbing is also destructive. It’s one of the reasons why so many barn owners don’t want cribbers as boarders — it loosens fence posts and pulls down poles. But if I can minimize the cribbing and keep him and the fencing safe, I think it’s a win-win.
Have you every been able to reduce or prevent your horse from cribbing? What has worked for you?