Stable Vices

Stable Vices

Horse stable vice in Stall

A stereotypy is a repeated action that seems to have no purpose. Stable vices are stereotypies. Vices develop from the horse being stressed, usually because of boredom, lack of exercise, being confined to a stall, or other possible explanations. Below is a list of common stable vices, and brief descriptions of what they look like.

Weaving

This is when the horse sways back and forth, shifting their weight and swaying their head. It can cause wear on their joints because horses that typically have vices can do them for hours on end. Here is a video of a weaving horse:

Cribbing and Wind-Sucking

Cribbing is when the horse bites down on a solid object with its incisors, arches its neck and sucks in air into the upper part of the esophagus. This creates a gulping noise. Horses that crib may do it from stress and boredom, but it can also be a sign of ulcers. Some horses may also lose weight because they would rather crib than eat. Wind-sucking is when a horse does the same cribbing action, but without grasping an object. Here is a video of a cribbing horse:

Wood Chewing

This is a vice that bored horses develop where they chew the wood in their stalls or the wood fence in their pen. Some horses may do it if they are vitamin deficient. This is not like cribbing because the horse does not intake air while chewing the wood.

Tongue Vices

If your horse sticks its tongue out when the bit isn’t in its mouth, or when it isn’t eating, this can be a vice that is a sign of stress or boredom. Some common tongue vices are when the horse sucks their tongue with the mouth closed, sticks their tongue through the lips and possibly shakes it around, opens and works their mouth, or opens their mouth and sticks their tongue out. In the following video the horse has most likely developed the vice due to boredom, as it does not look extremely anxious.

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Horse related activities are inherently dangerous and caution should be used at all times.