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Anyone else having this problem this year?  Haven't had any problems with this in a few years.  I have the same horse I had last year and he had never bothered any of the trees.  The horses in the pasture next door are doing the same thing.  Our horses have a salt block, a mineral block, hay available at all times and get fed good twice a day. 

Any ideas?

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Mine are all doing it too. They also have a round bale, mineral block, salt block and get grain and soybean meal. A few times a week they get a beet pulp mash for variety. From all that I have read on the internet, they basically do it to have "something different" to eat. Horses in the wild eat bark, dirt, leaves, moss, etc.
My horses used to do it every winter when I lived in upstate NY.  My personal belief is that they get bored in the winter when the grass is dormant or snow covered.  Once one starts to do it they all get in on it!  People will tell you that they lack something in their diet but I think that is hooey when they are well fed, supplemented with minerals, and healthy.  Unfortunately mine killed a number of beautiful hard maples in my pasture up North until I finally realized I would need to protect the trees every Fall before they stated stripping the bark.
Well, I have been wondering the very same thing!  I have had one horse for 3 yrs. now in same lot, which is basically a dry lot year round...and always keep mineral block, grain twice/day, great hay 24/7, etc. - never had any problem with the trees until this year - the 2 horses have stripped the bark entirely off 4 big willow trees and killed them??
There is a product called "QUIT" that is sold a retail farm stores, TSC and Co-op's that is guaranteed to work against horses chewing ANY kind of wood.  I have explained to folks when they purchased the product about the guarantee and have not had any brought back.  I have also painted the trees with pine tar, (retail farm stores sell) which won't hurt the trees or board fence, but if they scratch their butts on it, it will transfer on to the horse's behind.  Doesn't work real well for white horses or paint horses....but I have used it.     
I, myself, don't really have a problem with them hurting the trees, because we have more than enough of them in the pasture.  (Of course, it would be too late to worry about it now anyway.)  I was just really curious about why they seem to be so bad about it this year and wondering who else was having the same issues.  I appreciate all the feedback. 
I really don't think bark eating has anyting to do with mineral deficencies, I think bark just tastes good!     I think it stems from boredom, and the sudden realization that it's there.    Unfortunatley once they find bark, they turn into beavers and will kill every tree.    Mine killed all the maples first, then started working on the young oaks.   The large oaks must taste bad because they have avoided them.     The only solution I have ever found to work is to wrap every tree you want to save with fence like chicken wire or hardware cloth.    Do it now before they eat the bark off all the way around... the tree will die once they get that far.

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