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#1 hannah5

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 04:11 PM

What is a wind sucker? How does being a wind sucker affect horses? Things that the horse can't or shouldn't do?

#2 Floridacracker

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Posted 29 August 2009 - 05:49 PM

Hi, IMO this is one of the worst vices a horse can have. A true windsucker or burper will latch on to anything he can grip and you can hear the actual sound of air he sucks in. It sounds somewhat like a burping noise, once you hear it you will know what I mean. A cribber will chew and not suck in air. Both are distructive to their teeth and can cause colics, ulcers and of course distruction to property.It plays havoc on their body and is hard to keep a good weight on. I have never seen a windsucker be cured or even controlled to prevent this habit. I have seen folks have collars so tight you would think no way the horse could pull back and suck, they still find a way. A vet once told me it is like a drug addict that is getting his fix. Most show barns or breeding barns will not have a windsucker in the barn as they are also concerned that this can become a learned habit. It is a nasty habit and a horse with this vice is a horse condemed to a life of impulsive behavior.

#3 star memories

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 12:52 PM

I respectfully disagree. Windsucking and cribbing are the same except a windsucker doesn't necessarily have to latch his teeth on anything to windsuck. They will stand and dip their nose in towards their chest, sort of an arching of the neck, grunt (flex), and get their fix. A cribber usually latches his front teeth on something, a bucket, stall door, ledge, another horse's leg, neck, or rump, or even their own leg, and then they do the same thing as a windsucker. A lot of people argue as to whether they actually suck in air or not, there have been several papers written on this and the latest findings reveal that they do not actually swallow air. Some will tell you that they sort of "burp" when they do it, therefore the idea that they are swallowing air. I perceive it as more of a grunt, sort of like a human would grunt when picking up something heavy.

There is NO CHEWING of wood involved in windsucking/cribbing. Yes, when they drag their teeth across the wood, it will dig into it, dent it or mar it, but they do not actually chew any wood. WOOD CHEWING is another vice altogether and it involves actually chewing the wood and can be very destructive, a lot of people who own wood chewers call them "beavers". Not to say that a cribber can't be destructive, horses that are really hooked, dedicated cribbers can do some really bad damage to a stable, but it usually involves "pulling" down the boards or breaking them due to the force of the cribbing involved.

Also, there is growing research and findings to back up the theory that cribbing/windsucking are more the result of heredity than many of the other reasons once thought responsible for it, such as too much confinement, too much sweet feed and not enough hay, no turnout, ulcers, etc. , although those factors could be involved in making it alot worse or intense. Many people will argue that cribbing/windsucking is a learned behavior and that horses will copy others doing it and thereby learn to do it, but this is not proven and even if horses take it up when there is another horse around that does it, there are also many influences present, such as heredity, high stress, confinement, feed, etc.

Some of the damaging effects of windsucking, depending upon how severe the habit is, are destruction of stable and fence areas, wearing down of the front top teeth, repeated colic episodes, and the failure to thrive and be able to keep weight on. Remember though, that there are many degrees of intensity of this stereotypy and not all of them will do it so badly as to suffer any of the ill effects of it.

IMHO horses that crib/windsuck should not be used for breeding, no matter how darned nice, fast, well conformed, etc. they are.....i.e. Please don't breed that mare if she is a cribber/windsucker!!

As far as what your horse can or cannot do, most people only find it to be a problem when the horse is at rest in the stable, but for the most part, when they are being occupied, such as riding or driving, the stereotypy does not interfere with their performance.

Edited by star memories, 31 August 2009 - 01:02 PM.


#4 nick

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 05:08 PM

holy cow. i can only respectfully say this is a displaced behavior. horses that are kept inside without herd buddies--they're social animals and need their scratching partners--start to behave this way to deal with the frustration.

put that horse out.

cribbing, wind sucking, disappear when they have buddies to fight, play and just disagree with. solitary confinement is terrible for a horse.

yep they might get injured, but what would you rather have? do you want to be in solitary confinement? no friends--no social contact. i've been injured sailing, riding, skiing, hiking with friends. i'd do it again any time.
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#5 reinnin4fun

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 05:43 PM

Nick,

I know of a gelding who is on about 100 acres, some hilly trees, some flat grass areas. He has 4 other horses with him, he was born there, (I do not know anything about his mother) he is a cribber, the other horses are in eating and he's standing at a wood post cribbing. I have never been by there that he isn't by his post. In the winter he will be at his post when the others are eating hay. He is thin but spends a lot of time at his post.

It's not just a confinement thing, it's a horse thing, and it won't be cured by turning a horse out, I read an article that told of a hrose that had nothing he could crib on, out in a pasture, he used his knee!

I bought a horse that cribbed, thought I could fix it, no way, you can displace the behavior but as soon an an opprtunity comes, mine went right back to it, he was turned out with other horses as well.

I would never buy a cribber again (no matter how good looking), I stall my horses and have never "made" a cribber. I think it's a personality/disposition thing. And I know it's a big enough thing that it's considered an unsoundness that must be declared if you sell horses at the big sales.

So it's not just stalled horses, and some stalled horses like their stalls, it's the easy life, no flies, temperature controlled and best of all: room service.

#6 audrey-mae

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 06:45 PM

QUOTE (nick @ Aug 31 2009, 10:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
holy cow. i can only respectfully say this is a displaced behavior. horses that are kept inside without herd buddies--they're social animals and need their scratching partners--start to behave this way to deal with the frustration.

put that horse out.

cribbing, wind sucking, disappear when they have buddies to fight, play and just disagree with. solitary confinement is terrible for a horse.

yep they might get injured, but what would you rather have? do you want to be in solitary confinement? no friends--no social contact. i've been injured sailing, riding, skiing, hiking with friends. i'd do it again any time.


Totally untrue!

I once had a horse who learned to crib from his dam (I got him as a 3 yo).

A friend of mine had a gelding she got from her FIL. He was raised up on huge land with many other geldings and young studs. One of the young studs was a cribber, and my friends gelding decided it looked like a great idea. She said the 2 of them would be latched onto the fence while the others were off doing horse stuff, like grazing.

I now have a gelding I raised up at home and he was scratchign his neck and learned that how to windsuck just by flexing/pressing his neck a certain way on any sturdy, ground parallel object, inside or outside. Neither were ever isolated, ever. My home raised gelding has had nothing but a perfect life.

True it CAN and does start for those reasons you named nick, but dont assume that because a horse cribs or windsucks, they have been treated in cruel ways!

Both are habitual and impossible to stop once they start. Sure you can deter them, but given the chance a cribber or windsucker will always get their fix.
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#7 SST

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 08:39 PM

I have a 9 year old gelding windsucker . He definately has a pattern he does this after feeding and after released from riding . Sometimes he would do it at ramdom. I tried everything to stop ,I had him for going on four years now. I put wire up on things he would use ,didnt work. So I bought a miracle collar ,it works great. I hoped the collar would break him of it but it doesnt . I'll take it off for rides and oiling . He might go a day before he starts up again . It doesnt cure him though just stops it. This is the hardest keeping horse if have ever seen . He's good, but what a pain .
He isnt bored or kept in a stall . He has another horse that keeps him company . He has good grass for now , and plenty of stuff to keep him busy like nieghbors geldings.

#8 Powder

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 07:35 AM

Cribbing and windsucking are the same thing. It's a terrible habit, or compulsion, I guess is a better word. I have never seen a horse cured of this problem, but some collars can help.

I have seen horses that preferred to crib more than to eat. Those are very difficult to keep weight on since they spend most of their time cribbing, no matter how much hay you put in front of them. It can start at a very early age, and I have seen a young foal crib on his mother's knee!

Some people believe that it's a learned behavior and won't have a cribber around other horses for fear that they all may pick up the habit. I have not seen that to be the case, though.

It's interesting that it is now believed to be a hereditary issue. That seems likely to me.

There is nothing that the horse cannot do because of it. It doesn't affect his physical abilities in any way. It just may be difficult to keep weight on him, if you can't control the cribbing.
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#9 Mule_Freak

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 08:31 AM

I also agree w/other posters, my sister has 4 Haflingers, they are out in the pasture 24/7, Duke the Haffy doesn't care if he is w/herd mates or not, he will latch on to anything he can get those teeth on and windsuck and he also chews wood. I also has a Two Eyed Jack gelding that had a pasture mate, he taught my mare Storm to chew on wood, thank the good Lord he didn't teacher her to wind suck. I've also had a mare Winny that was (as we called her) the wacky Weaver, and she had my sweet Molly mule and Stormy to keep her company, but it didn't matter were Winny was stall or pasture that mare would find a spot and weave. Now I've mainly had equines that were the ONLY one, and I can honestly say, never had a cribber, windsucker, or weaver, but I think that is because I spent lots of time w/them, plus if they had to be stalled due to bad weather/etc... they always had toys in their stalls, had the barn T.V. on, or I was out side brushing on their hides happy0203.gif
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#10 rescue6horse

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 07:03 PM

QUOTE (nick @ Aug 31 2009, 11:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
holy cow. i can only respectfully say this is a displaced behavior. horses that are kept inside without herd buddies--they're social animals and need their scratching partners--start to behave this way to deal with the frustration.

put that horse out.

cribbing, wind sucking, disappear when they have buddies to fight, play and just disagree with. solitary confinement is terrible for a horse.

yep they might get injured, but what would you rather have? do you want to be in solitary confinement? no friends--no social contact. i've been injured sailing, riding, skiing, hiking with friends. i'd do it again any time.

I cannot completely agree with you on this one. Once a cribber/windsucker, always one, be it inside a stall or outside with their buddies. I have had horses stand all day on a fence post while everyone else is playing or grazing. It is a high for them and no matter where they are they will find something to get that high on. Once they start this no amount of buddy time will stop it.

#11 Cheri Wolfe

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 10:27 PM

There is a difference between cribbers and wind-suckers.

Cribbers always place their upper teeth on something and pull down to suck in air.

Wind-suckers just tuck their chins and suck air without placing their teeth on anything.

Both will usually continue to do it if they are turned out. Once they do it regularly, they do it the rest of their lives. It frequently starts with confinement and lack of exercise and is often a result of stomach ulcers and a limited amount of hay to eat

The big wide cribbing straps or the ones with a diamond shaped piece of stiff leather on the bottom will stop a wind-sucker.

The 'nut-cracker' type or Miracle Collar will often times stop a cribber. Once they learn to crib by pulling on something that is low to the ground, there is nothing that will stop them other than a muzzle or a .22!

And -- just on the outside chance that the OP was not talking about this kind of wind-sucker, it can also refer to a mare that sucks air into her vaginal cavity when she works or runs. Most race mares and cutting mares are routinely sutured (have the upper half of their vulva sutured shut) to prevent them from sucking air into their vagina. If a mare does this, she will be chronically infected, ill tempered and usually will not perform well. Older broodmares, as well, usually need to be kept sutured to prevent fecal contamination from getting in their reproductive tracts.

Edited by Cheri Wolfe, 11 September 2009 - 10:31 PM.


#12 Lindsay H

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 04:00 PM

Its deffinatly a learned behavior. My two year old recently got injured badly enough that he was on stall rest for about a month. He was by himself in the barn most of that month. Never cribbed , wind sucked, weaved, anything. Once he went back outside, he saw the horse in the field next to him cribbing on the post, and he started. When I moved him to a new field, without a cribber near, he stopped.

My previous mare was a terrible cribber. She was an OTTB, so we assumed she learned it there, in the stalls most of the day. We tried everything to get her to stop. Collar after collar, muzzle, feed throughs, sprays, toys, everything! Her teeth were so worn down that she couldn't keep weight on very well. It took her about an hour to finish her grain, partially because she couldn't keep it in her mouth to chew, and partially because she would take one bite, crib, bite, crib. She was very destructive too. Loved her though! You just have to decide if the horse is worth dealing with all their crap, lol.

#13 Lindsay H

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 04:04 PM

QUOTE (Cheri Wolfe @ Sep 11 2009, 11:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The 'nut-cracker' type or Miracle Collar will often times stop a cribber. Once they learn to crib by pulling on something that is low to the ground, there is nothing that will stop them other than a muzzle or a .22!

Just wanted to add that muzzles don't work all that well! My mare would lower her head to the ground, sit the muzzle on the ground, and crib right on the muzzle. She's also put the muzzle against a fence post, or anything else that would keep the muzzle still so she could get her teeth on it.