Undergraduate Honors Thesis Projects

Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Honors Paper

Degree Name

Equine Pre-Veterinary/Pre-Graduate Studies-BS


Equine Science


Dr. Steffanie Burk

First Committee Member

Dr. Steffanie Burk

Second Committee Member

Dr. Anna Young

Third Committee Member

Dr. Halard Lescinsky


Horse, Behavior, Cribbing, Welfare, Hay, Animal

Subject Categories

Higher Education | Large or Food Animal and Equine Medicine


Cribbing is a stereotypic behavior observed in horses, wherein the animal grasps a solid object with its front incisors and contracts its neck muscles to suck in air through its mouth, resulting in an audible grunt. Stereotypic behaviors such as cribbing are thought to be done in response to stress or insufficient stimulus in an animal’s living environment. Slow feeding hay nets can increase the amount of time horses spend eating daily hay rations. This research aims to use slow feeding hay nets to create a feeding process that is closer to natural grazing behavior and provide more stimulation for stabled horses. This could cause a change in the cribbing frequency of horses who are established cribbers. The study objective was to determine if cribbing horses fed out of slow feeding hay nets have a significant change in cribbing frequency or duration. This study included 10 cribbing horses and followed a cross-over design where horses ate out of a hay net for one week and ate hay on the ground for one week. At the end of each week, horses were observed and the number of cribs, cribbing time, and hay eating time were recorded. The results from paired t-tests and Wilcoxon signed-ranks tests showed no significant difference in number of cribs (p=0.85), the cribbing time (p=0.96) or eating time (p=0.89). Although no significant change in behavior was observed from this study, alternative research has shown there are other management techniques that could be effective in reducing the frequency of cribbing.