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Obsessive wind-sucking

Dear Franklin,

After acquiring an ex-race horse, Chariot racer, I am a bit concerned about the one issue she has that is quite disturbing. Wind sucking. I am not talking about the normal bored horse cribbing or occasional wind sucking, I am talking out of a 24 hour period she did this for a total of 17 hours. I know this because I took the time and stayed awake for 24 hours and documented every time she did this. Mind boggling isn't it? I have only had her for 9 months and I am attached, however, I need to know in the long run, if I am going to be paying out the nose for future medical troubles. I even went as far as selling my 2 year old gelding thinking maybe he bothered her into doing this strange thing. She is still doing it. So badly that my metal gate is broken off it's hinges and it is being held together by a chain until I can locate a welder to fix it. The rails on the gate are smashed completely flat from her biting down and pulling back with her neck. I know this is not normal behavior, but what can I do now? She came to me this way. My neighbor abandoned her when he was evicted from his home due to his selling and manufacturing methamphetamine. He would dump the left over residue in the very grass and weeds this beautiful creature was eating. This imbecile didn't buy hay for the last 6 months he was living there. I would sneak out after midnight and throw her hay that I have. Should I get her blood tested? I am worried sick about this horse.

If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them.

Thank you, Sincerely,

Hi Shellye,

Cribbing/wind sucking is the worst 'stable vice' of them all. Horses can still live a full life having this vice, but it cannot be retrained out that I am aware of. A cribbing collar (set snug) may slow the horse down a bit. I know a lovely ex-reining horse, beautiful and wonderfully trained, he does the same as your horse. He is older now, maybe 18. He has worn his front teeth down to mere nubs. I think that is probably the worst of it for a horse. Physical damage to property (fences, gates, etc.) is going to happen unless precautions are taken by putting metal strips on the tops of rails and posts where he clamps on or running a small electrical charge through any metal within reach. The most common cribbing collar is called a 'Miracle Collar.' My friend has used one for years on her cribber. It slows the horse down somewhat, but does not stop the behavior. Another option is to muzzle the horse. That generally will leave marks on the horse's face around where the muzzle sits. However, perhaps try the muzzle for a while and see what the horse comes up with as a result. The 'collar' doesn't really work that great on most of the horses that I have seen. Some better than others. Sorry to give you this not-so-happy prognosis.

Sincerely yours, Franklin

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