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Some Horses Pace, Chew Wood and Bit Themselves


In the wild, horses spend their walking hours in the simple and necessary equine pleasures of eating, moving, and grooming- in that order. Domesticated horses however are kept isolated most of the time. They can not graze or exercise for long periods of time. When that happens horses get stressed and many horses find relief by doing artificial , vigorous forms of eating, moving, and grooming, such as "weaving" from side to side in their stalls, rapidly pacing the inside of the stall or along a fence-line, taking hold of hard surfaces with their teeth and sucking in air, called "cribbing", chewing and eating wooden surfaces, or biting themselves repeatedly. Doing these activities will stimulate brain chemicals such as endorphins and dopamine, which produce contentment and block pain.

Excess caloric intake can also be contributing to the stress problem. The horse is designed to eat plain, fibrous grasses one mouthful at a time continuously throughout the day. They were not designed to eat several pounds of sweetened, high-fat, high-protein grain concentrates only once or twice a day. When a horse is over fed and inactive, a toxic overload is produced in horses bodies that can seriously damage their internal organ, hooves and moods.

If horses don't get enough exercise and have a proper diet they can develop colic, founder, ulcers, and abnormally worn down teeth and hooves, or behavioral issues like aggression.


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