Friday, October 4, 2013

A secret revealed

Snoopy does not like to discuss this, but today I must tell you about the dark side of his injury.

No, not the back side, the dark side.

Imagine a young horse. Actually, imagine a young anything. A horse, a dog, a person. Imagine them getting hurt or ill and being under doctor's orders to stay quiet. Remember when you had to keep your toddler from running around the house with his 100-degree fever?

Not easy.

At four, Snoopy should have been allowed time to go out and leap and scamper and be a horse. But with a broken leg, we couldn't allow it, so he stood in his stall. His body was restless. His mind was bored. He needed stimulation.

God knows we tried. Toys, treats, grooming, hand-walking. None of it was enough. Eventually he picked up a habit to help him pass the time. A bad habit.

I'm talking about cribbing.

Cribbing usually looks like this:

The horse plants his upper front teeth on something immoveable, then pulls back and sucks air in. Most people believe that sucking in air releases endorphins. It's pretty much like having a cigarette, without the nicotine.

There are lots of opinions about cribbing. Some people say that it can damage a horse's throatlatch, and even lead to digestive problems by filling their stomach with air. Some people don't think it will hurt the horse at all.

Collars are available to keep the horse from swallowing air. I didn't try to make Snoopy stop while he was stall bound, but after he was back to work, he wore one for awhile. Then I had a little difference of opinion with his old trainer, who didn't want him to wear it. I may put it back on him if he begins to crib too much.

Although I wish he hadn't started cribbing, I figure it was either let him do that or watch him lose his mind. Only one of us needed to do that.

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