One of Horse Journal’s most popular departments is “Ask Horse Journal.” Every month, they include reader questions with responses from our experts that the editors believe most readers will be interested in. But, even if the question isn’t one that they decide to publish, subscriber questions will be answered by an expert, whether it’s published or not (and, no, they don’t publish the names of the question askers). The following question and response seems timely, as horses are spending more time in the barn with the winter weather upon us.
Eager-Beaver Horses! Bored horses sometimes take up gnawing wood. What will stop horses from eating my barn?
Horse Journal Contributing Editor Lee Foley Responds: We suggest starting with the simplest solution, which is dish soap. Don’t laugh, but we’ve found that Original Dawn is the best choice, followed by Original Palmolive. You can mix a heavy solution and spray it on or just wipe it right from the bottle onto the areas they’re going after.
If that fails, we reach for RapLast (www. jmsaddler.com, 800- 627-2807). This is also great for horses who are starting to tear at their leg wraps and/or blankets. The company now has Quit Chew, too, but we have not yet tried this product.
Many horses also respond to the supplement by Farnam called Quitt. (www.farnamhorse.com, 800-234- 2269). It can take up to 30 days to work, but it’s well worth a try, especially if you don’t want to be bothered with painting stuff all the time or worry about stains.
Depending upon the cause of the wood chewing and the horse’ weight, there are other things to try, including toys, increased turnout/ exercise, more hay and/or use a hay net that has tiny holes in it so that the horse has to work harder to get the hay out, like Freedom Feeder (www.freedomfeeder. com, 909-260-7555) or NibbleNet (www. thinaircanvas.com, 772-463-8493).
Note: Remember, cribbing is actually a different vice than wood chewing. Cribbers actually, grab a hold of wood, arch their necks and suck in air, which gives them a pleasurable feeling. Some of these remedies may deter a cribber, but since they ‘re not actually chewing, they won’t be as effective. And cribbers are farm more determined.
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