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You are in... Forums > Horse Care > Veterinary/Health > Windsucking/Crib-biting - can it be learnt by other horses?

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Rio186

Joined:

Jan 11

Posts: 99

Rio186 says:

Windsucking/Crib-biting - can it be learnt by other horses?

Hi all,

 

we have just loaned a gelding until at least the summer and straight away realised that he spends a lot of time windsucking on posts, walls and anything he can get his teeth on.  His owner seemed surprised when we mentioned it, and said that she really hadn't noticed... he does it a LOT!  And his teeth are worn down at an angle, suggesting he's been doing it for some time.

He is in a field with my youngster (turning 2yrs old this summer)... does anyone know whether it may be contagious?  Terrified he may copy him.

 

Would be grateful for anything anybody knows!

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rhapsody

Joined:

Apr 05

Posts: 2888

rhapsody says:

Re: Windsucking/Crib-biting - can it be learnt by other horses?

In my opinion, no it can't.  I once had a thoroughbred who was an ex racer and had also been a stud stallion, hence he had little turnout in his younger years.  He came to me aged 16 as a chronic windsucker, where he had been kept they turned him out in isolation to other horses or not at all (I actually rescued him from being sold to a butcher).  I kept him alongside my pony who was 9 at the time and he never ever tried to copy him.  We moved later to a larger yard with more horses of all different ages and again not one of them tried to copy him.  I believe, for what it's worth, that horses really only pick this up out of boredom, as was the case with Mac, rather than mimicking each other.  For example, you will see horses do all sorts of different things, and others don't try to copy them, so why should windsucking be any different?  I know traditionalists will disagree though, as it was always considered that they did copy this behaviour, but I would say through experience this isn't true, and if Mac was still with us (he'd be 33 if he was) I would have no problem turning my filly out with him.  However if you're still worried you can get collars to try, they are usually effective but the traditional ones have to be done up really tight to work, and the "Miracle Collar" I think is rather expensive.

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SuzyA

Joined:

Mar 09

Posts: 813

SuzyA says:

Re: Windsucking/Crib-biting - can it be learnt by other horses?

I once had a horse staying with me who windsucked alot.  My two didn't take any notice whatsoever.  So in my experience, no.  I personally wouldn't like to place any collars or the suchlike on them.  They windsuck/crib-bite for a reason, and if you stop them doing it they may become even more distressed and could have other adverse effects.  Since you didn't know before you loaned him, unless you really don't mind, then it sounds like you'd be happier with another that doesn't.

 

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greyandbay

Joined:

Mar 10

Posts: 3347

greyandbay says:

Re: Windsucking/Crib-biting - can it be learnt by other horses?

I don't really know anything about windsucking, but Bracken crib bit before I had her - she was stabled a lot of the time I think, and since she's been with us (12 years) she's lived out 24/7 and I've never known her do it since.

She's very much an outdoor girl, and I'd hate to have to keep her in for anything.

You may find (if you keep this gelding) that being out in a field more will help with the stopping of him windsucking.

Like SuzyA above, I just don't like the idea of something being used to stop them, as she says it may lead to worse behaviour.

If you keep him good luck :o)

The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man - Winston Churchill

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Rio186

Joined:

Jan 11

Posts: 99

Rio186 says:

Re: Windsucking/Crib-biting - can it be learnt by other horses?

Thanks eveyone!

The owner has given us Beau (the windsucker) so now he is ours permanently.  I've decided not to worry about my youngster learning the habit unless it happens!  We keep our horses very naturally, out 24/7, so like you said I hope that'll minimise the chances in case it can be learnt (there's so much conflicting information out there!)!  As for Beau dropping the habit, I'm not sure he will: he's 17yrs old and old habits die hard!  Also, can't they get addicted to some hormone it releases... can't remember the name right now!  Any one know how to tell if a horse has stomach ulcers? (Apparently they either cause or are caused by the windsucking.)

Beau is very underweight (ribs and hips), so we are working on slowly getting him back into condition (he is old so we are doing everything very slowly)  but he is such a wonderful character I'm sure he'll be worth it!  And just to think, we were looking for a good-doer family cob to suit anyone and everyone... and end up with a thoroughbred with just as many problems as years!!  Even so, love at first sight would be an understatement!!

Wish me luck!!

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greyandbay

Joined:

Mar 10

Posts: 3347

greyandbay says:

Re: Windsucking/Crib-biting - can it be learnt by other horses?

There's a lady who used to be on here, haven't heard from her recently, I think her name was harriety, not sure, but she had a horse with ulcers, had a lot of problems......if you can find her on here somewhere she may be able to help.

Other than that, I think NAF do a supplement to help with ulcers, if you suspect he has them, it may be a good idea just to feed him as if he actually does.

Or something like Protexin gut balancer may help, it's got pro and pre biotics to ease acid in the stomach, and is pretty good.

Hope you can sort him out, it sounds as though he's found a good home with you :o)

The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man - Winston Churchill

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Rio186

Joined:

Jan 11

Posts: 99

Rio186 says:

Re: Windsucking/Crib-biting - can it be learnt by other horses?

Thanks greyandbay!  I looked around for a harriety but couldn't find her.  Hoping by chance she'll read this and get in touch with me.  Planning to have a quick chat to my local vets anyway to see what they suggest.  But I'll try the NAF, and maybe the Protexin and see how it goes.  Honestly, I think I need to get to know him better for maybe a week or two first, so I'll be able to notice any little changes/improvements.

 

Just hope I can do him justice!  Never known such a sweet horse, the other day I was grooming him and he turn his head, rested it on my shoulder and did this deep sigh... my heart just melted!  His last owner was a really nice lady, but had some pretty obvious gaps in her horse knowledge - she stopped feeding him because 'it was that time of year' and he has had some previous infections from untreated wounds that the vet told us about, and was kept in a lot to keep him clean...  painful to think he may have suffered even a little being such a kind old soul!  Even my Mum, (who is very petite and often easily intimidated by anything over 9hh!) is so comfortable around him she helps groom him and even says she might try riding him one day!!  We've barely had him a week and can hardly remember what the yard was like without him!

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