One of the more common stable vices of horses spending long periods of time in confinement is gnawing. Horses tend to gnaw when they are bored, hungry or feeling isolated, and they’ll chew on anything they can get their mouth on. This not only causes damage to the surface they’re gnawing on, but it can lead to more serious habits like cribbing – which can harm their teeth and lead to health problems like colic.
So to protect the inside of your stable from damage, and keep your horse happy and healthy, here are a few preventative measures you can take.
Fit Anti-Chew Strips
The top of stable doors and surrounding frames are some of the favourite places for horses to nibble on. It can lead to a bad aesthetic and doors that don’t close properly, so you’ll want to sort it out.
If you don’t have them already, consider fitting anti-chew strips to the top of the stable door and outside frame. These metal plates provide excellent protection to the timber and are safe for your horse to bite down on.
It is also common for horses to nibble along the top edge of kick boards so consider fitting them on here too.
As standard, all Colt bottom doors are fitted with an anti-chew strip extending 15 inches down the front. However, if you would like to add additional strips around the door frame and kick board lining, please enquire for possible solutions.
Coat Surfaces With Bad Tasting Substance
This option can be done with all manner of substances (as long as they are safe/non-toxic). One of the more popular products is Cribox, which you can buy from most tack shops. It comes as a ointment which you apply to your horse’s favourite gnaw spots. This makes the surface taste disgusting, and your horse won’t want to put its mouth anywhere near it again.
Some people also recommend home-made solutions, ranging from pepper sauce to a watery mix of their own droppings. However, please consult your vet before trying anything proven as they may prove to be health risks.
Install Anti-Weaver Grill
Anti-Weaver grills fit onto the top of the stable door and are v-shaped protective bars. Your horse will still be able to see out of the stable door but won’t be able to nibble on the door edge of surrounding framework.
Available from most tack shops, these fixtures are normally easy to install and can removed whenever needed.
Stable toys are useful for staving off boredom and de-stressing your horse, hopefully to the point where they no longer think to gnaw or crib. These can range from purpose built gadgets, to home-made improvisations.
One cheap option is to thread some string through a plastic bottle or swede and hang it up in the doorway of the stable. The swinging motion keeps them entertained as they try to catch it and grab a bite out of it.