What causes a wood chewing horse?
A wood chewing horse is not only destructive to property but can also cause harm to their health. Part of fixing the problem is figuring out why the horse is doing it in the first place. It can be out of boredom, frustration, nutritional deficiencies or sometimes just a habit they have picked up. The splinters from the wood can cause injury to the horses’ mouth and digestive system. Enough wood chips in the gut can cause colic.
Horses are more prone to wood chewing in cold, wet weather so even if your horse has never chewed on fences or trees it is a good idea to keep an eye on their behavior during winter. If you do notice the behavior it may be an idea to get your veterinarian to look into it to rule out any health problems. If this is cleared, then you can treat it as behavioral and following are some suggestions to help curb this habit.
Provide more forage
Horses were designed to graze all day. It’s good for digestion, ulcer prevention and saving your fences! Providing more forage for them to eat is probably the easiest and most effective way of stopping wood chewing horses. Using a slow feeder will also help stretch out a horses meal time.
Cut off the wood source
No I don’t mean replace all your fences. But you may be able to cover them with PVC or even an electric fence inside the margin of the existing fence will stop the wood chewing.
Change the taste
Talk to your vet or visit your local farming store. There are products you can treat the fencing with that taste unpleasant to horses. Always follow the instructions!
Increase the horses’ exercise
This is another boredom preventer. Even if you aren’t wanting to get your horse into peak physical form, any form of activity does prevent boredom.
Nipping this problem in the bud when it first happens is the best way to fix it long term. Keep an eye on your horse in the winter months and prevent boredom where possible.