It’s not an uncommon for a horse enthusiast to encounter a horse that has bad stall manners which can either be annoying or dangerous. Stall vices include biting, kicking, cribbing, & weaving, all are considered a serious issue in horses. But one may question if stall vices are results of behavioral problems? There is strong evidence indicating some horses that develop stall vices may be experiencing underlying health problem.
Cribbing May Be a Sign of Gastric Ulcers
Cribbing is commonly considered something of a genetic nature or a learned behavior. It has been shown to be coming from a stomach problem. Feeding your horse 2-3 times a day,your horse travelling to a competition, limiting turnout time and strenuous exercise can have a significant impact on your horse’s stomach. Any of these factors can contribute to an acid buildup in the horse’s digestive system which can potentially lead to the development of gastric ulcers.
Horses can suck in air – the most notable sign of cribbing – to relieve themselves from the discomfort. Sucking in air will expand the stomach, causing acid to drop away from the areas of the stomach that are irritated, thereby providing temporary relief.
Withdrawn horses or those that are weaving or stall walking can also be outward signs of digestive disorders .
Poor Ground Manners
Whether your horse is training to join a higher-level of competition, occasionally competes in shows, or is used entirely for leisure activities like trail riding, it can easily develop an irritable behavior and become more difficult to train, or simply develop a generally poor attitude. They tend to pin their ears as you approach their stall, or threaten to bite or kick while being handled and these could be more than just a change in personality.
If a horse is in serious pain due to digestive disorders, hind gut acidosis, colonic ulcers or gastric ulcers, they only have one way to let you know about it – their behavior. They may also become more sensitive to touch.
Key Points to Avoid Stable/Stall Vices
Stable vices are very troublesome especially if the horse repeatedly exhibits bad behavior and is likely to harm itself or other people.. To avoid stable vices, here are four important points –
Horses are naturally social creatures that enjoy the company of other horses. If they are taken out from the group, or are constantly introduced to new horses, this can become stressful and should be minimized. On the other hand, if you can’t keep as many horses on your property, providing your horse some company through another animal such as sheep or a goat can be very helpful.
Time Well Spent Outdoors
Horse owners should find time to allow horses to be turned out and get some exercise. The horse should be exposed to its natural environment – and the stable is not a good example of a natural environment. Allow your horse to roam freely in a pasture or a paddock just to let him stretch those muscles and have a breath of fresh air.
Horses should receive diet that is high in forage but at the same time provides him with the complete nutritional requirements. If horses are not given forage, behaviors such as wood chewing may develop. If it is difficult to let your horse graze freely on a pasture, provide him small, frequent meals instead of bulk feedings.
Training a horse to be well-mannered is a good idea, but it also depends on the type of training being used. Owners should decide which methodis to be used, making sure it benefits both the owner and the animal. Several training methods are available but it is a good idea to choose ones that favors positive reinforcement.
Explore Potential Digestive Health Problems in Poorly-Behaved Horse
There are many reasons why a horse would develop and display poor behavior through stall vices. It could be issues in training, a learned behavior, or a history of abuse – as well as an indicator that the horse is in great pain. There are instances when even though the horse is provided witha n ideal environment, the right diet, and allowed to be with their social circle, they still manage to develop unpleasant behaviors. Different reasons as to why horses can behave that way exist and if you see that you have done everything possible from your side, but still see that your horse acts inappropriately, it would be time to explore other possible causes like an injury or a health problem.
As you find more about the cause of the poor behavior, make sure to also consider digestive problems. Consult your veterinarian to analyze your horse’s feeding regime, care measures, or to perform any necessary test to confirm clinical issues.
For problems with horse ulcers, use Abler’s trusted equine ulcer treatment AbPrazole. Effective and affordable treatment for your horse is possible with Abler.