I guess I understood the TD I got in one of the political threads in OT, but on this? I was stating an experience and an opinion. Just odd and random I guess. Esp since no one is owning up to it later in the thread with a quote and "maybe you should treat your horse for ulcers?" or something, whatever the TD is for.
Anyways, continuing on! I've also been in big barns, 50+ horses, for several years with lots of turnover and NEVER once did a horse START cribbing while there, including the horses who were turned out in a large field with a horse who would choke (with grass coming up and everything ) on his cribbing strap rather than stop cribbing.
My first horse was a dedicated cribber. He was an " only horse" and developed it as a yearling. When we moved and I boarded him for the first time I had several people move their horse because of him. He never taught another horse to crib, ever. When I married and we got our own place , he was in with several other horses and he would crib away and no other horse I owned ever did. So I wouldn't be bothered if any of my horses were next to a cribber.
Proud to be owned by 2 appaloosa mares and an ornery mule.
My mare has been stabled next to, and across from, a couple cribbers. Didn't start. What she did pick up, which completely annoys me, is scraping her teeth upwards on the vertical bars. The other horse left the barn, and my mare still does it. Sounds just like nails on a chalkboard to me.
Horses that crib usually scope positive for ulcers. Starts as a way to eleviate gastro discomfort after eating grain and also too much stall time(stress). Like any other habit even when the ulcers are treated the habit is still there though sometimes it will decrease in frequency.
"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."-Hunter S. Thompson
Gelding next to my mare is a hardcore cribber. She shows zero indication of starting. Instead she's content occasionally raking her teeth along the wall when she gets bored...almost as bad of a habit if you ask me.
Cribbing can be a sign of ulcers, if picked up suddenly. For my ottb, he's done it his entire life, and it gets really bad when his ulcers flare (same with the other tb at the barn.) I KNOW the mare had a bad, stressful, abusive situation before her owner got her, my gelding was faced until he was 8, but was a loser, and most likely kept a stallion (he's well endowed, moreso then most geldings) so I can't imagine how stressful his track life was.
Both crib through collars, neither have top teeth, and no horses have ever picked up cribbing after them. And I believe the mare is ~18 and my boy is 21. I'm respectful when I go to clinics or shows and let them know he's a cribber so they can accomadate him as needed (ie other worrisome boarders or metal vs wood stalling)
Ok, so I have a cribber, and I listened to some experts talk about this phenomenon, just to get a grip on it. The cribbing doesn't really bother me, because it's largely under control. We've got a Dare collar, and he's on tons of turnout, and now only has the post-meal smoke, so to speak.
The current understanding about cribbing is that it produces endorphines for that feel-good yum sensation. Horses who engage in cribbing are looking for that feel-good sensation, indicating something in their lives is lacking: food, turnout, comfort, etc. Engaging in cribbing is a sign that something in their basic needs is not being met, so like many humans, they turn to chemical relief. The problem is that the endorphines are so very, very good, that even once those needs are being met, they can't stop naturally. Some horses are more disposed than others, just like some people are more disposed than others to turn to substance abuse.
A horse chewing wood is apparently different. Horses chew wood to alleviate boredom and their hard-wired need to chew. Horses are built to be constantly chewing on grass/forage while in constant movement. If we restrict them in a stall with strict feeding times, we're going against their nature, so they'll start chewing instinctively. This will also happen if a pasture gets too chewed-down, or a meal is too late. Chewing wood, though, can be learned, because horses are social. If they see the dominant horse chewing wood, they may go into instinctive survival mode too, regardless of whether they're actually needing to chew.
Like I said, my OTTB cribs. I know that he was neglected and not fed. I have caught him chewing wood once, and that was when the herd leader was gnawing on a tree in turn out- it was early winter, and the pasture was slim. So far, he has not "taught" anyone how to crib. He does have trigger factors to cribbing besides the "post meal smoke." For example, if he's getting picked on in the pasture, he'll wander off and suck on something. If I make him stand in his stall for any period of time (like if I'm taking my sweet time grooming him). Boredom. Stress- though this has gotten better. When I first got him, he would start chain-cribbing the minute I showed up with a saddle. Hasn't done that much lately, and I can only speculate it's because he's got enough turn out, space, social life, etc that he's content and not stressed out all the time.
We still speculate about it, but that's what I learned over my weekend.
Cribbers don't bother me in the least. If that's their only issue, I consider myself lucky. My QH & TB have been together for many years. TB cribs, QH doesn't and never did. Before my TB, my QH gelding was stalled next to, and also across from, 2 serious cribbers. Never a problem. One of my QH's pasture buds is a wood chewer, but hasn't picked that up either. I truly do not believe that horses learn cribbing from one another. I do believe that a foal may pick it up from its dam, but that could be learned or it could be hereditary.