The Truth about Cribbing Collars
This is another popular method as a remedy for horse cribbing or wind sucking. You can find these at your local feed store or where you buy gear for your horses. The cribbing collar is a leather strap that fits around your horse’s neck with a Y shaped metal plate, which covers the bottom of his neck. The cribbing collar constrains the neck muscles each time your horse attempts to crib. Several stable owners have reported that it actually deters the cribbing behavior in most of their horses.
A cribbing collar works in preventing your horse from expanding his neck muscles, which he needs for cribbing. It also restrains your horse from breathing in very deeply, so he can no longer get the pleasure-producing effect he seeks whenever he cribs. When he finds that there’s no way to get “high” (an effect produced from the release of endorphins), he’ll stop chewing.
Unfortunately, it is doubtful whether it will also work for “wood chewing”, which is another undesirable behavior of horses. Horses don’t have to expand their muscles to chew wood. So it’s doubtful whether you’ll have much success with a cribbing collar.
Generally, there are three kinds of cribbing collars:
* The “Nutcracker” type collars have a shaped metal piece on the bottom;
* The “French” collars are usually just leather straps; and
* The “Miracle Collars” have a strap that goes in front of the ears as well as around the throat latch.
Some stall owners claim that they’ve had some measure of success using an old stirrup leather or even just a piece of baling twine around their horse’s neck. In contrast, both the Nutcracker and Miracle Collars tends to rub tightly against the horse’s neck and cause some bruising as well as excessive neck sweating. Both models are also difficult to remove.
Meanwhile, some owners have reported that they’ve had satisfactory experiences using the French collar. According to them, it is tight enough to discourage cribbing, never rubs against their horse’s neck, and is easy to get on and off.
Another recent variation of the cribbing collars is the “electric shock collar” similar to the ones used to discipline misbehaving dogs. There are two kinds of electric shock collars:
* One model is where the horse owner manually activates the switch like a dog training collar; and
* The other one is where the horse receives an electric shock whenever he tries to bend his neck as if he was going to crib, much like a barking collar.
Pet owners have nothing but praises for the dog training collars for its effectiveness in disciplining their misbehaving pets. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for horses.
You have to remember that you have a 1,200 pound animal that’s under a lot of stress and using an electric shock collar may create more problems for the stall owners. Since cribbing is caused by stress, zapping a horse when it tries to crib may not be such a good idea.
You only have to read some of the recent posts in horse forum sites detailing the nerve racking and hair raising experiences of owners who’ve tried to use electric shock collars to discourage their horses from cribbing but instead end up getting them into a state of panic.
The best approach is to take the “middle ground approach” which involves using a cribbing collar in combination with other preventive measures that discourages cribbing such as:
1. Using a French collar as an anti-cribbing strap;
2. Allowing your horse to graze in open pasture from time to time;
3. Making more hay and forage available;
4. Limiting the intake of feed concentrate as this tends to worsen the horse’s stomach acids; and
5. Providing some form of entertainment or distraction such as toys or a companion animal like a goat.
So if you’re still doubtful about what course of action to take, talk with your trainer or equine veterinarian. Don’t just hope this vice will go away by itself. Once your horse’s vices are under control, both your horse and your property will be much better off.