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This is a discussion on Weaving within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category
  • Ulcers weaving horse
  • Horse weaving

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    11-22-2010, 02:32 AM

So a guy in the barn has a OTTB that weaves. Standing in his stall, standing in cross ties, standing in wash racks, etc. back and forth, back and forth. It looks insane.
Some of my barn mates have said that it's a neurologic issue, while others have said it's a learned behavior. Anyone have any insight on this type of thing? And maybe what the best method of getting him to relax might be.
I really haven't ever seen a horse do that before. So this is all totally new to me!
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    11-22-2010, 04:21 AM
It is usually just a habit, whether it be a nervous/boredom thing or what. How much turnout and exercise does this horse get? The best thing for him would be lots of turnout. If they must be on a schedule (due to boarding etc) than I would keep free choice hay in front of him at all times while in his stall. And maybe try one of the many toys/boredom buster type things they have to choose from nowadays.
I haven't personally known a horse with ulcers to weave, but I guess it is definitely possible and something to rule out. I also have never heard of it being a neurological thing, but maybe someone who knows more about that will chime in.

Edited to say... my suggestions at the beginning are of course after anything pain related (or neurological?) is ruled out. :)
    11-22-2010, 09:44 AM
I know a horse that weaves - and it is very saddening. It is said that horses who weave are highly intelligent, not sure if that is true.

My suggestion for horses who weave - is to leave them out on full turn out. I do not think they belong in a stall at all.

The horse that weaves at my barn, nothing helps to prevent it from happening. The boredom busters do diddly squat. A mirror in the stall does nadda. Hay does blip as well.

I think that the only cure, is full turn out.
    11-22-2010, 10:01 AM
I have a weaver.

He's very high energy (Arabian), and being on 24/7/365 turnout has helped tremendously.

He doesn't do it anywhere except his stall, though. He's very well behaved everywhere else.

It's a nervous, high energy behavior, not a neurological issue. Weavers, stall walkers, and cribbers aren't neurologically impaired. Horses evolved to be outside and moving. Behaviors like that are just their way of saying they're frustrated by being kept in one spot.
    11-22-2010, 10:54 AM
I had a weaver. He was a tb off the track and just had a lot of drive and heart. I think he was always ready for whats next. The more turn out and work he got the better the weaving got. I feel they just do it out of habit yes but also boredom.
    11-22-2010, 02:05 PM
IMHO Weaving is a psychological symptom of boredom most of the time. It is akin to cage walking that is seen in zoo animals that do not have enough of an enriched environment to keep their minds connected. Once started, it is difficult to stop, and the longer it goes on, the harder it is to stop. It's like a dog who itches a spot, and creates a hot spot when bored; after a little while, the slightest boredom will trigger the behavior.

I've had some luck with enriching the environment (e.g., feed in gallon jugs so the horse needs to think to make it come out). With chronic weavers, I have to train them not to weave. I've found two large bolts (something about 1/2" diameter and 3 inches long), tied onto the brow-band of a halter with about 2" of twine helps. As the weaver starts to weave, they bang the bolts into their face. Relief comes from not weaving. Can't leave it on all the time of course.
    11-22-2010, 02:33 PM
I really don't see what the big deal is with a weaver. The simple solution most of the time is to get them out of the dang stall. Nico (last horse) was a major weaver. I've known a good handful of weavers and have NEVER seen one get out in the field and weave. Its a stall induced behaviour and if you take the stall away, the behaviour goes with it.

To me, a weaver isn't the same as a cribber. A cribber can destroy a barn...a weaver plows a hole in the ground. I've known plenty cribbers that when let out of their stalls...find a place to crib in the field. My friend growing up thought she would turn her cribber out on the field and went through and "crib-proofed' everything. No posts, no rocks...took it all away. He cribbed on his own hooves.

While your "bolt" Suggestion might work...I just cannot see the reasoning. Sure, its going to stop them from weaving...that behaviour is just going to manifest into something else.

If your weaver isn't hurting anything, why stop him? Turn him out and if he *HAS* to stay in his stall...do your part to help him...give him lots of hay, busy work and such...
    11-22-2010, 03:24 PM
Green Broke
Using that technique will also likely leave you with a horse that is head shy as well, from being smacked in the face by a chunk of metal anytime he moves around. The bolts will swing around when the horse moves about the stall too, even if he isn't weaving, so to me it would accomplish nothing, except causing a fearful horse. To me, weaving isn't a behavior that HAS to be corrected, especially not with a method like that. More stimulation, more time outside to be a horse, like has been stated, a companion, these are the ways to overcome the habit.
    11-22-2010, 04:01 PM
I would be worried about an unplanned eye injury. Well, I guess in this case it would be more planned than unplanned because you would have to expect something of that nature with a heavy metal object swinging around your horses face.

If you think about this little plan (bolts on face) it would punish you horse for moving his head in any manner. Simply turning to see what the noise over there is, going to scratch an itch, etc.

I say get the weaver checked for ulcers and then give them more turn out.
    11-22-2010, 09:27 PM
Fabulous ideas everyone! Sadly... we're in a very concentrated part of Southern California. There is no such thing as "turn out" here. You're lucky if you get into a nice barn that has stalls open for boarding, and there isn't a year long waiting list for some overpriced 12 by 12! Ick.
Anyway... I will bring some of these ideas with me to the barn!

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