How to pre­vent (or deal with) the ‘vices’ now known as stereo­typ­ies.

Horse & Rider - - Contents -

Stereo­typ­ies (once called sta­ble vices) are repet­i­tive be­hav­iors that serve no dis­cernible pur­pose. They in­clude crib­bing and wind­suck­ing, weav­ing, stall- and fence-walk­ing, and self-mu­ti­la­tion. They be­gin when horses at­tempt to re­lieve the stress caused by neg­a­tive en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors—such as con­fine­ment, iso­la­tion, sweet feeds that cause gas­tric dis­tress, etc. To pre­vent stereo­typ­ies from de­vel­op­ing or to min­i­mize their ex­pres­sion, at­tend to your horse’s be­hav­ioral needs (see be­low). Also avoid high-carb feeds in fa­vor of pas­ture graz­ing or low-calo­rie grass hay fed in amounts to keep your horse busy with ex­tra “chew time.”

Stall con­fine­ment—es­pe­cially in the ab­sence of hay or straw to chew on—in­creases the risk of stereo­typ­ies.

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