Stable Vices Cont
These two vices are caused by boredom and are common in neglected and confined horses. Cribbing causes the front teetch to wear down and digestive problems such as flatulence or colic. When a horse cribs, it grasps a solid object with its teeth and gasps in air. Windsucking is much like cribbing except it is done without any object to grab onto. Although windsucking does not affect their teeth, it can cause damage to the lungs and digestive system, also causing colic. This vice can be prevented and treated, but rarely cured, by keeping the horse busy or by using artificial treatments. Crib collar can help a cribber and a windsucker, but for cribbing only, you can buy special paint to place onto the surface which does not harm the horse, just gives it a bad taste.
Eating Bedding This is also a common vice in neglected and confined horses and is a way of relieving boredom, or keeping a horse busy. Ways of preventing and/or helping a horse with this vice is to use inedible bedding or paper, or by keeping the horse busy and occupied through exercise and/or attention.
Wood Chewing Wood chewing is a vice that can be very destructive and a sign of improper feeding, such as lack of roughages, and also a sign of teething and boredom. A "dedicated" wood chewer can chew up to 3 pounds of wood a day. Ways of preventing and curing this vice is quite manageable. Increasing the roughages in the horse's diet, decreasing the horse's access to wood, increasing excercise, and giving the horse more time in the pasture can help the horse end the vice.
Tail Rubbing This vice is often caused by a parasite, a dirty udder, sheath or tail, and also shedding HQ. Tail rubbing is when a horse rubs it's rump and tail against surfaces such as fences, other walls, and any other object. After the cause of this action is found, tail rubbing usually has already become a habit to the horse and will continue. To keep the horse from tail rubbing against fences, electric fences can be used.
Self-mutilation This vice is most common in 2 year olds and Stallions, but can occur to any gender. This vice can be spotted by a horse biting its flanks, front legs, chest, and scrotal area the horse squealing, pawing, and/or kicking out. Self-mutilation can be caused by confinement, lack of exercise, and/or sexual frustration. The vice is manageable, but not always curable. Gelding non-breeding stallions, increasing exercise, reducing confinement, giving the horse a stall companion, toy, a neck cradle, a muzzle, or a possible future pharmacological treatment can help the vice, but may not end it.
Stall Walking/Stall Kicking Stall walking is common in horses that are confined, have too much energy, or are nervous and/or excited. This vice is when a horse walks in circles or back and forth in the stall continuously. Stall walking can be prevented and treated by giving the horse more exercise and attention/love, giving it a toy and/or companion, and giving the horse a "window" or opening in the stall so the horse can see the outside activities, which sometimes will help calm the horse.
A stall kicker can cause just as much damage, if not more damage, as a wood chewer. It is common in horses who are nervous, spooked, overly-confined, isn't happy with something or someone, and, sometimes, wants attention. A stall kicking is a vice that is important to cure and not let on too long; a stall kicker does not only do damage to the stall and/or facilities, but can also do damage to its legs and hoofs, causing injury. The vice can sometimes be cured, depending on the horse and the amount of time the horse had the vice. Increased exercise, change of neighbors, padded stall walls or hooves, and using kicking chains or kicking shoe can sometimes help cure the vice.
Weaving/Pacing Weaving is also a vice that could do damage to the horse's legs and can cause nervousness and affect the horse's performance. The vice is spotted when a horse sways back and forth, often by a stall door or pen gate, moving its body and head from side to side. Pacing is much like stall walking and weaving. A horse who paces is seen walking back and forth in the same line repeatedly. Both vices are caused by confinement, boredom, excess feed and/or energy, or stress/nervousness.
Pawing Pawing is when a horse digs holes, digs holes, tips over feeders & waterers, which can often result in getting its leg caught in fences, wearing its hooves away, and losing shoes. This vice is caused by boredom, being confined for long hours, and excess feed. Pawing can be prevented and treated by providing the horse with exercise, not usin ground feeders and/or waterers,, using rubber mats, and formal restraint lessons.