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Country Discussion Topics
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Speaking of horses
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dig    Posted 09-20-2002 at 12:36:37       [Reply]  [No Email]
Why would a horse eat the bark off of a tree? One neighbor has 7 horses and they've started to strip the bark off of the Maple trees. They have plenty of food and water, is there something in the bark they aren't getting or does it just taste good?

June in SD    Posted 09-21-2002 at 05:45:08       [Reply]  [Send Email]
From everything I remember, that is called cribbing so I went to and typed in horses cribbing. The results showed me two web sites promoting anti-cribbing sprays. You can try
You might want to check them out.
Good Luck.

Saddlebum    Posted 09-21-2002 at 20:09:58       [Reply]  [No Email]
Cribbing is a completely different behavior, that involves a mechanical action with the teeth holding onto an object and sucking in wind. It wears down the teeth and causes other problems. The bark eating is more closely related to wood-chewing in general, which is more of a boredom thing, but it could also indicate they are trying to get some minerals that might be missing from their diet. You can try feeding mineral supplements (loose mineral salts designed for horses--very cheap for a big bagful) free choice, and if they need it, they will chow down on it and leave the trees alone. If it's boredom, get them some toys or a can try hanging milk/water jugs with some pebble in them from the trees--they seem to like the rattling sound and will bat them around. They make "stall balls" too, which are big rubber horse toys. We have an apple-shaped one that our orphan loved to play with when she was a baby.

screaminghollow    Posted 09-20-2002 at 19:34:05       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Have you ever tasted maple syrup? When we tap maples in the late winter, I catch my daughter drinking the sap, because its sweet. There's a certain sugar content all year, as well as in sycamore, birch and a few other varieties. My horses have killed every maple and poplar in the pasture. It is because it tastes good.

Cowboy Joe    Posted 09-20-2002 at 18:50:19       [Reply]  [No Email]
...You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be led (lead). GET IT???

dig    Posted 09-20-2002 at 15:36:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
Thank you. I'll suggest one of those big bouncy balls to the neighbor and see where it goes. You'd think with 7 horses in the same pasture they'd have each other to play with.

kraig WY    Posted 09-20-2002 at 12:46:30       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Horses eat bark, fences, boards of corrals and such if they are bored. They don't do this as much if they're allowed to run/grase in a pasture.

I've seen people cure this by giving them a toy, such as one of those bouncy ball. Looks like a big beach ball with a handle that kids use to bounce around Wally World while their parents are shopping.

Stretch    Posted 09-20-2002 at 13:34:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
Yup, boredom. But our two horses have 4 acres of pasture, so I'm not sure if that's the only answer. They even have two donkeys to play with, and believe me mine does. Somehow I don't think the donkeys likeit as much as he does. Maybe he needs a hobby, like getting ridden a lot more than he does now.

DeadCarp    Posted 09-20-2002 at 13:51:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
Why not get him a goat to play with? Lotsa city people are doing that. Pygmy goat is enough, their imaginations never stop. Truth is - one pygmy goat is enough to entertain everybody. :)

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