KER.Equinews.com - Full Article
By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · July 7, 2014
Cribbing is a stereotypical behavior in which a horse sets its incisors against a fence board, stall door, or other horizontal surface and then tightens its neck muscles, making a gulping or grunting sound as though swallowing air. In some horses, this behavior becomes so time-consuming that the animal chooses cribbing rather than eating. Confirmed cribbers may lose weight, show excessive wear on the incisors, and develop some types of colic more often than non-cribbing horses. These horses also bring lower prices at sales; it seems that no one wants to own a cribber.
Despite numerous studies, no one knows exactly why horses begin to crib, what sort of reward they obtain from the behavior, or how to get them to stop. Does the habit relieve stress in the horse, or merely increase stress in the owner? Is cribbing the cause of, a pain reliever for, or completely unrelated to gastric ulcers? Do horses learn the behavior when they see other horses cribbing? Results of research have failed to provide conclusive answers to these questions...
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