Windsucking TB...

Discussion in 'Problem Horses' started by stocklady, May 31, 2006.

  1. stocklady

    stocklady Well-known Member

    Ok, i have never understood, or have owned a horse until now, that does this..
    She windsucks on the fence, which cant be good for fence or her..
    Why do they do it?
    I have had many ppl tell me, "they are bored" or lonely..which means, they are bored anyway..
    What do you do to prevent this, if possible..?
    I dont think collars work, i still see horses windsuck with them on..

  2. Remaani

    Remaani Guest

    [navy]When i had Spunky (did you see him?)... he was a cronic cribber & the night we brought him home, apart from being very thin, he had a red raw neck from the collar & his 2 front teeth were pretty much worn right down.
    He was collar less for about a week to let his neck heal & put in with Sass, having a mare in with him settled him down & he was more occupied in her than grabbing the fence & cribbing. But if the horse grabs a object (fence, feed bucket etc) thats cribbing... windsucking is when the horse arches their neck & gulps the air in, without grabbing something.
    Anyway, the few weeks Spunky was here, he had 24/7 access to hay & i only saw him start cribbing if he got stressed (taking Sass away, moving another horse near, Jai in his view, lol).

    Some say it stress, ulcers, boredom, etc, but you can actually get a collar called the Miracle Collar, google search it SL.
    Provide plenty of hay, keep her boredom (if its that) to a reasonable level, also good if its ulcer related.
    But i dont no much about it, was just a shock seeing Spunky still crib when wearing the collar really tight & his front teeth were shocking.
  3. Gaia

    Gaia Gold Member

    I don't know much about windsuckers but I went to have a look at a TB mare yesterday who is a windsucker and she had the most horrible neck! Near to the base of the neck on the Brachiocephalic muscle was a huge lump! Almost felt like it was on the cervical spine. Was on both sides of neck but more prominent on one side. Is this a symptom of windsucking?? Also the underside - Sternomandibular was all floppy and had no tone at all to it. I'm curious.......
  4. Seahorse

    Seahorse Well-known Member

    I always thought that it was often brought on by the presence of gastric ulcers, but that the action of doing it releases endorphins (happy/painkilling chemicals), which makes them tend to continue the habit.

    Not sure though, would be interested to know...

    "Never criticize someone before you have walked a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes."
  5. EmC

    EmC New Member

    If you can I would electrify your fences, eliminanting the rails & post that they can windsuck on. If they are chronic windsuckers they will wear their teeth down. There are a lot of myths about windsucking lol It is a manageable vice, either wear a collar or don't depending on the severity. Just remember if you decide to put a collar on, I would have regular massage or chiropractic appointments lined up!

    If the horse is talented enough I don't discount them due it. If it is for resale then I reconsider as a lot of people won't buy them due to their own personal reasons.

    I've owned a windsucker that was an Official D grade showjumper and Pre-Novice eventer. It never affected her with her performance.

    Friends of mine have had four star eventers and world cup showjumpers that windsuck!! Gaia I've never seen a windsucker with the neck you describe, that is interesting, it sounds like it is that horse's peculiarity.
  6. mirawee

    mirawee Gold Member

    I have a cribbiter (commonly miscalled windsucker LOL) He doesn't wear a collar usually as he really isn't bad...he only does it when he wants attention ie around feed time! However if he has a collar on he will never do it, but you have to make sure the collar is on tight...and tight usually means tighter than you would think too!
  7. stocklady

    stocklady Well-known Member

    hmmm. she is on a bale of hay a day and her hard feed at night, so she hasnt stopped eating since i got
    But wen she does get into town, ill put her in the paddock, and put the electric fence on, she wont do it
    She will have lots of wonder im soo tired, giving attention to all these lovely

  8. Remaani

    Remaani Guest

    [purple]Is this the skinny mare?
    I personally would have a qualified dentist do (or at least check) her teeth, has she any worn teeth at all?
    Is she a cribber (holds things between her teeth to "gulp" in the air), or a windsucker (arches neck, "gulps" in air without latching onto objects)?
    Remember, if shes a cribber, they will crib on anything depending on the severity of it.... so water troughs, feed bins, trees etc can be used.
    Theres no point fattening a horse up without doing the teeth first, as do you know wether her condition is due to not being fed properly/bad teeth or just cronic windsucking/cribbing?
    Eliminate all possibilities, boredom (give her a friend) or lots of stimulation such as walks, grooming etc, do her teeth, give her ad lib hay, if she doesnt improve weight wise, i would have the vet see her & find out if its ulcer related or not (hay is great for reducing gastric acid).
    Collars do work on some, same as some windsuckers/cribbers cope well, body condition wise. But teeth is a major thing in my opinion if shes a cribber, you'll be amazed how quick a horse can wear them down to the gums.[/purple] [:-cwm39-:]
  9. Caroline

    Caroline Well-known Member

    Sorry guys, but in my experience a windsucker will always windsuck for the rest of its life, even after you have removed what you assume to be the initial cause.

    The researchers and horsey experts still do not know specifically what makes a horse decide to start windsucking, hence there is no cure as such.

    All you can do is let the horse live as naturally as possible with other horses for company, endless roughage, exercise, regular worming, appropriate hardfeeding if required etc. Stabling a windsucker is a bad move. Leave them out in a big paddock to be a horse and they keep themselves occupied then.

    Some windsuckers may loose condition and be poor doers due to the habit. Others keep in great nick!! Some folk think it is a learned behaviour and other horses nearby, usually youngsters, imitate this behaviour and start sucking too.

    Personally I wouldnt have a windsucker cos I just dont like them. Each to their own though!!

    =) CJ
  10. Mac

    Mac Active Member

    I agree with Caroline just be aware that youngsters may copy. Also they are more prone to colic. I have owned one and i hate the habit (hehe like a smoker its a habit either you put up with it or you dont) There does seem to be some very good performance horses out there that are windsucker or cribbers but i would not own one again does not matter how good it is. (my opinon).

    Cheers Mac
  11. stocklady

    stocklady Well-known Member

    It was a choice that i made, she is a cribber, but she has the sweetest eyes, and was basically being left for dead. So i followed my heart and grabbed her.
    When she comes into town on Saturday, she will be put near Frank, to settle in, then she can go in the paddock. She is putiing on some weight which is marvellous!!
    She has been wormed, gonna get her feet done coz they are shockin.., but yer, ive never had a horse that does this, Frank bobs his head up and down when he gets excited, thats about
    Going to get pics developed today, so ill put some piccies up..
    So.. hopefully she will be happy and settle in with the other horses i[:-thumbs-up-:][:-happy-:]

  12. Lington Park

    Lington Park Guest

    Years ago we had a 2year old TB agisted with us and as the owner was doing some pre-training work with it before handing it over to the race trainer, they insisted that it was kept stabled and not put into a paddock.
    One day i was standing outside its yard and was watching it lean over the rails to play with a bit of a fence it could reach (it was a bit of poly pipe over strand wire). While watching this horse for about 5 minutes i watched him learn to windsuck. It was just with him playing with his mouth on the poly pipe and suddenly he took a gulp and you could almost see his brain ticking away tryng to work out what he had done so he could do it again. We modified the yard a few minutes later so he couldnt reach the bit of fence again but by then it was too late as the next day he was trying it out on the stable door etc.
    Even more years ago we had a young 5yr old riding pony out in a paddock next to a crib-biter and we thought it would be ok, but within a few days the pony became a chronic cribber. It was a real eye-opener as to what you can take for granted when it come to windsucking!
    As far as I know the main reason the windsuckers lose weight is due to them being too busy sucking away to bother grazing, plus after a few years their teeth wear down and it would make grazing harder for them too. But when it comes to a hand fed windsucker i have never come across them being too hard to keep weight on other than being typical TB types where some hold weight and some dont.
    Putting up electric fencing etc may stop a crib-biter but I have heard (but never seen) of them using their knee or a hoof to suck on - or even another horse!
    I have only ever seen one true windsucker in my life and it was the most annoying horse! Most crib-biters wont suck once you start saddling them or when you are riding them but this windsucker we had would just gulp away whenever! Go for a walk then stop for a sec and gulp gulp gulp!
    It is really personal choice when it comes to a windsucker/crib-biter. If you can put up with the gulping then it shouldnt be a problem.

    ~~~ Kirst & Dan ~~~
    Lington Park Agistment Centre
  13. finitey

    finitey Well-known Member

    Well my gelding is a windsucker. I am quite sure that the definition of a windsuker is a horse that gulps down air either by grabbing on a surface or in chronic cases can do it without a surface, although I haven't seen a horse do this. A crib-biter is a vice which involves a horse grabbing at a surface and biting, but no sucking air back and arching of the neck.

    The vice is highly addictve, I have been told it is like us taking up smoking or a heavier drug. It is sad, once taken up a horse can rarely be stopped. Some horses are worse than others, my boy is quite mild, he will suck without a collar, but doesn't lose weight. My understanding is that it is developed out of stress or bordem, hence how common it is in TBs that have raced. From experience it seems genetic also, or perhaps learnt by the foal from a windsucking mother.

    I have tried a range of things with my boy. I have used the collar with the metal piece underneath, worked very well except it gets hot in summer, and also can rub if not careful to keep it clean. I currently keep a Miracle Collar on 24/7, is all leather, I find it rubs a little but not bad, be careful to keep it regularly oiled and clean. Wearing a collar completely stops my horse windsucking. If possible, electrify all your fences, as at the previous place I kept my horse he was in an electrified paddock, and did not need the collar on. As for decreasing bordem etc I have tried paddocking him with other horses, giving him a HUGE area to run in, regular work and excess hay and feed, and he still found the one and only one place in the paddock to windsuck. Although the frequency of windsucking decreased, he still did it.

    To be honest I would not overlook a windsucker because of the vice. It is easily managable in most cases. I once had a close friend tell me that at least with a windsucker, you KNOW how they are taking out there stress, much better than a hot horse, bucking, rearing, shying, bolting etc etc. I tend to agree [:-happy-:]. I wouldn't sell my windsucker for the world

    Cheers Michelle

    "There is no secret so close as that between a rider and their horse"
  14. Remaani

    Remaani Guest

    [purple]I would say Spunky was a crib biter, he would most often grab the fence rail, arch his neck & gulp in air... sometimes he would just rest his top teeth on the rail.
    Windsucking/cribbing does lead to excessive wear on teeth, most cases the top fronts & it does become a problem, especially for the horse that grazes (think about it).
    I believe horses get satisfaction out of it, ive heard that the expanded stomach on the horse, makes it feel satisfied & happy.
    Things like digestive upsets, poor condition, no/loss of appetite are very common with a windsucker/cribber.... but then theses others out there they look a million $$.
    I would (as i did with Spunky) find out why the horse has this habit, if it can be reduced (if stress, boredom, hunger etc) then the horse will be better of for it to some degree.
    I personally wouldnt get another cribber... drove me insane with Spunky doing it (& he was cronic!!).

    But best of luck with your mare SL.[/purple]
  15. Cyclone

    Cyclone Active Member

    from experience I would be putting a collar on your horse, My mare was a crib biter,but I always put a collar on her but it had to be really tight, I also used to put a cover over the colllar to stop the rubbing but she could still alot of the times manage to get away with the cribbing because she used to close her mouth stretch out her neck and then gulp in the air which in turn made her slightly parrot mouthed(Miracile collar did nothing). I lost her three tears ago to really bad case of colic, she had colic twice in ten weeks, when I was done there at 2am I found her laying on her tummy with her back legs out like a dog does while totally drug up, the vet had said she was in really bad pain even with all that pethadiene in her system as she had heard about them laying like this but had never seen it, she passed away about 2 mins later. When I spoke to my boss about it he said crib biters quite always suffer from colic as they wear their top teeth down and when they are grazing they do not have the sharp bite to break the grass and tend to grab the roots as well which most of the time will have sand on them. Also allowing them to cribite or wind suck will cause them to lose condition as they spend most of their thime hanging of things and not eating, also it gives them a full feeling as it has filled their bellies up with air and that can also cause gas colic which is what my mares dam died of as she was also a crib biter that never wore a collar also my mares full sister is a crib biter, they both picked up from their dam. Sorry my story is long but it was a shocking thing for me as she was my baby, I was riding her when she was a yearling then I was given her when she was 2 and I lost her when she was nine, and I would not like anyone to go through that with their horse when it can be prevented but I have found once a crib biter they will do it even if they are in a large paddock, have company, or food, I hope my story helps.
    Regards Cyclone
  16. Cyclone

    Cyclone Active Member

    I forgot one thing most horses I have seen with collars on do stop but they just need to be tighter if they can still do it. my mare was an exception as she used to do it differently to the normal horse that does it.
    regards Cyclone
  17. DD

    DD Guest

    Windsucking tends to be much more of an issue to owners than to the horses involved. It rarely has and serious effects of the horse, but owners tend to become fixated nervous wrecks.

    Windsucking, cribbing, weaving and some other related behaviours ARE entirely treatable in most cases. With the appropriate medication they disapear entirely in nearly all cases. ...the problem tends to be the the ongoing $ can be a little expensive.

    SSRI's work in most cases, but the dosages for a horse are costly!

    "Some things NEED to be said, and SOMEONE needs to say them.
    Will YOU speak up???

    All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing!"
  18. Wendy

    Wendy Well-known Member

    I recently lost my dear Bella, also quite a bad windsucker, to colic. She was the quietest, most co-operative little TB and lovely to ride, probably because she was getting her "fix" from the windsucking. She had several bouts of colic in the years I had her, and the last one the vet couldn't do anything as she had displaced her intestine.
    But I've seen others who never colic and are easy to keep fat. Luck of the draw I guess.
  19. Gaia

    Gaia Gold Member

    i leased a stallion that was a windsucker but he did it without anything! He would do this bizarre rotation with his head and while his head was up and his neck open he would take in air. It took me a while to work out what he was doing! It drove me nuts!
  20. wraithe

    wraithe Guest

    I have seen so called cured windsuckers(or what ever you want to call it these days), and most have returned to the habit at some stage...It seems to be habitual and having owned a few over the years it has never been a major issue...(i've not owned a horse for nearly twenty yrs now) ,,, most horses i owned where work horses and some showjumpers, the work horses seemed to be the worst but one of my showjumpers was a windsucker...they didnt bother me except that some of them wrecked the fence posts and the railing, and that can be annoying...only ever had one that lost weight but if i worked him regular, he was able to keep it on..people have believed its boredom and blah blah, but honestly, it seems to become more prominent in horses left in stables for long periods, but again it may come back to the design of that stable...never having a horse we bred go that way i'm not sure but all mine where bought like it and as i have no problems with it, i usually got a cheaper horse by saying i did have a problem but would try to help the horse....
    Teeth are probably the biggest issue you can have with them and if you think there maybe an under lying issue then next time you get the vet out, ask, they may spot something else wrong or they may find nothing...either way it will make you at ease too...

    Last time i looked i didnt know witch witch i was or witch witch i am...

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