As the name indicates, stable vices are noted when horses are confined. Many of these vises have been brought about as horses were removed from their natural environment. It is the responsibility of horse owners to provide an environment that is conducive to the horses mental and physical well being. Some of the vices are as follow:
Bolting is the name given to the habit of a horse that eats too fast. This condition usually occurs with grain or pelleted hay. The condition can sometimes be controlled by placing baseball size stones into the feed box.
A horse that cribs will have the habit of of biting or setting his teeth against some object, such as the hay manger or stall doors. I have even seen them bit on the pipes in a pipe corral. The horse will then suck air . Cribbing causes a bloated appearance and results in the horse being a hard keeper who is subject to colic. The common remedy for a cribber is a cribbing strap
or a free to eat muzzle
. A cribbing strap is buckled around the the neck so the it will compress the the larynx when the head is flexed yet will not cause discomfort when the horse is not indulging in this vise. It is thought that cribbing gets it's start from boredom brought about from inactivity. Once this habit has begun it is hard to control.
Halter pulling refers to a horse pulling back on the lead rope
, cross tie
or trailer tie when tied up in the stable, wash rack or trailer. This results in broken halters
and other tack or even parts of the stable. Not to mention the possibility of injury to horse or horsemen.
On occasion even a gentle horse will kick because of unusual excitement caused by fear, insects or injury. However, a true kicker appears to have no reason or excuse other than the satisfaction striking something or someone with their hind feet. There are two types of kicks the first is to the rear and is a natural way for a horse to kick. A kick to the front is called a cow kick and can be just as dangerous as to the rear. A cow kick is an acquired habit and is normally learned as a defensive move because of ill treatment as a young animal. Stall kicking is also acquired and can sometimes be controlled by using what is called kicking chains
. Kicking chains are attached to the rear pasterns and cause no discomfort unless the horse kicks. Normally stallions or gildings are more prone to kick and mares are more prone to strike. Striking is the pawing forward with the front feet or legs.
Horses that are persistent in tail rubbing usually demonstrate the presents of parasites. The installation of tail boards or an electric wire may be necessary to break this habit. A tail board is a board the projects from the wall of the stall that is high enough to strike just below the point of the buttock instead of the tail of the persistent horse.
Other Horse Vices
Often there are other vices that are difficult to cope with. Vices such as: balking, backing, rearing, shying, a tendency to run away, and objections to being saddled, harnessed or even being groomed. Many of these vices are caused by incompetent handling. However these habits originated they are difficult to deal with and are even more difficult to correct. This is especially true with older horses.