January 31, 2013
I feel bad for horses that have a vice because most times there is a good reason that they have developed that vice, and I'm sure horse below already had this habit when his owner purchased him. Most horses develop a vice because of a living in a less than natural type of environment. The prime reason that comes to mind are stall bound horses. I would go nuts to being in a small 12 x 12 area for hours at a time and I know horses do. Horses evolved to be roaming animals, mustangs have been shown to travel upwards of 50 miles a day foraging for various grasses and legumes and traveling to their water sources.
I don't know the history of this horse or really much about him. I think there are very few horses at this facility that are isolated to just their stall and the small run. The owners I've met care very much about their animals and he's obviously not stall bound! Most horses boarded here have pasture access during the day unless they have an injury or have another need to stay in a smaller area. Most horses with vices here I assume started them before their owners bought them. A lot of show horses are kept stall bound unless they are training so if some of these fancy jumpers or dressage horses came from such a barn I'm not surprised they ended up with a vice of some sort. Some vices are manageable and some horses only do it when anticipating food like this guy. I've seen a couple horses with crib collars on but haven't really seen a lot of disturbing behavior. I think the horses are happy here, and definitely happier then where they may have come from, the vices are just left over from a past life.
I think all of you are aware I'm very pro-natural when it comes to horse care. I drive further than originally planned so my horse can have a nice big field instead of just a stall and run like most boarding places provide here in Colorado Springs. Still there is much to learn, Dani's care is not the type of care others would choose...there is nothing wrong with stalling your horse at night. There are many reasons to restrict pasture access and I think that in the future, like spring time, that is something I may have to end up doing because I worry about her being an easy keeper and developing laminitis but that's a whole other post!