View Full Version : I just bought a horse that weaves. yuck!

Aug. 31, 2009, 09:55 PM
I'm sooooo lucky! " the hits just keep on coming " My newbie started weaving Today right before feeding and also when her neighbor went out first. Her previous owner swears she has never seen this behavior before. Can I possibly be this unlucky, or has this behavior been around for awhile. I have never even seen a horse weave before, can you do anything about it?

Aug. 31, 2009, 09:57 PM
Get a U-shaped door, feed them first, turn them out first.

It's what I do with my stall banger, but then it's my barn, so there is no order to disrupt.

Aug. 31, 2009, 09:57 PM
This may sound tongue-in-cheek but I don't mean it that way:

Keep her out on pasture?

Aug. 31, 2009, 09:59 PM
It may just be anxiety, hopefully it fades with time.

I have a weaver, it's not a big deal for us. Lots of turnout and a good work schedule really helps. He only does it at feeding time, when he's really excited. :)

Aug. 31, 2009, 09:59 PM
Get a stable mirror. http://www.horsedata.co.uk/weaving.htm

Aug. 31, 2009, 10:08 PM
It has most likely been around for a while, unless your horse just arrived at this barn and is still nervous about the surroundings.

It can be dealt with, even though it may still come out in times of stress. My horse weaves a little bit when I'm getting ready to turn her out. She might do it for 5 seconds a day, so I don't even worry about it.

Maybe try putting the weaver out first, instead of the buddy. Weaver is most likely getting nervous because it thinks it's being left behind. My horse bounces off the walls when someone else is turned out first, and she is much more relaxed when she's the first to go out.

There were some studies done about vices like weaving, cribbing, etc., and now of course I'd have no idea where to find them, but you probably could do a Google search and come up with something. Weaving was one of the harder vices to break, but it was all about stress reduction. Adjusting the diet to limit sweet, molasses-y food and increasing roughage (hay) was said to be beneficial. Also, if the behavior was primarily displayed in the stall, obviously reducing time in a stall and increasing turnout was suggested, if possible. (Of course, if the horse is more nervous in turnout and walks the fenceline when turned out, that's not the best solution.)

There are other things that some people do, like stall toys, mirrors, etc., basically giving them something to do while in a stall to decrease boredom. I have a lot of success with free choice hay.

Just try to identify what triggers your horse's weaving. Nervousness, boredom? Then try to reduce or eliminate those triggers. The longer it goes on without addressing it, the worse it gets.

Aug. 31, 2009, 10:22 PM
I have a weaver. It's funny because when he chooses to stand in his stall (like when it's hot) he doesn't weave at all. When he's shut in his stall, it's a whole 'nother story!

He is much better now than when I got him. I've changed several things.

- He is turned out 24/7
- He gets free choice hay
- He eats a very low starch diet
- He gets some alfalfa throughout the day

He definitely weaves less when he's worked every day.

Aug. 31, 2009, 10:32 PM
The stress of moving to a new environment could very well be what started the weaving. Once it has begun it's a lot harder to stop so nipping it in the bud is crucial.

As mentioned, try to figure out what the triggers are and try to keep him as happy as possible, feed him first, turn him out first etc. He might like to be somewhere where he can see more of what's going on, he might be happier in a quite stall. Keeping him turned out, and preferably with a buddy, as much as possible is probably a good idea. Also keeping him entertained but not overfaced in his daily work might be a good idea.

If he seems to do it out of boredom more then stress, you could always try to keep him on straw. It's a pain but straw is essentially void of nutrition so he won't get too fat from it.

Either way, weaving could in the long term put a lot of stress on his joints etc. So try to limit the behaviour as much as possible.

Good Luck and congrats on the new horse!

Coppers mom
Aug. 31, 2009, 10:41 PM
We had a horse off the track that we put in a stall, and he immediately started weaving so hard he fell down. It was just the beginning with that genius :rolleyes:

If it's a brand new barn, it might be just nervousness. Feed/turn-out first, and try to keep things pleasant while she adjusts. If she'll eat, give her all the hay she wants, and maybe something like U-Guard to prevent ulcers.

You can try fun stall stuff, but most don't really seem to notice. This is going to sound horrible, but I've found that when they're weaving just to weave (NOT when they're having a fit, just being stupid) that a squirt from the hose is best. We get a lot of TB's in, and some of them are just silly when it comes to feeding time, and will pace the front of the stall, making noise, and just winding everyone up. They're just excited to eat, not nervous (I wouldn't do it if a horse was upset about being left, for example, that's a different state of mind), and sometimes they need a reminder that they should just pack it in and eat their hay. A quick squirt a couple days in a row usually does the trick.

Sep. 1, 2009, 09:21 AM
We also have a weaver. We owned this horse for 15 years before we saw it. We built a new fancy barn with gates instead of doors, moved him in and BINGO "P" weaves.

Well he no longer lives in that barn. He went back to the old barn for a bit, then out to a run-in with an attached paddock.

Is your mare an OTTB? It is possible, that in her most recent environment before you, they did not see it; however it is always there. There have been some good advice given. I am not sure I would squirt her with the hose though. Weaving is anxiety, not attention seeking like the stall bangers. Something about her new environment is naking her anxious.

Good luck and enjoy everything else:yes:

Sep. 1, 2009, 09:43 AM
Your horse could quit weaving if the stress is removed, as others have said, if fed first, turned out first, etc. I had my mare for 2 yrs before a tree limb fell on the barn above her stall and she did it that one time, never again to my knowledge. Ditto another horse at one barn, when a tree was being taking down behind his stall, he did it that once. (Both were TBs and maybe all TBs have a tree phobia?:lol:)

Find out the triggers, and try to eliminate them. My friend just moved from our barn, where her paint was fine, to another barn which has stall guards not stall doors, and the paint started rearing in his stall. They turned him out 24/7 for over a week, and now he is fine in his stall.

Moving to a new barn or getting a new owner is stressful and requires some patience and understanding.

Sep. 1, 2009, 09:45 AM
Depending on degree...some of this stuff is like humans that bite their nails...it's not really that big a deal at this point. So don't worry about it.
Horses do have their idiosyncriscies (sp?). Think it drives the humans nuts more then anything...there really is nothing to fix, it's just a habit. Bit of a stress reliever...and many-like my own-define "stress" as waiting for the feed wagon to get to the stall:lol:.

I reread this OP and it says she weaves at feeding time and when her buddy went out first? Well, so does mine and she has been for 10 years...sometimes mine gets into that in winter when it's too icy to go out too.

That previous owner is not going to say, "yeah, didn't I mention it weaves", they are pretty predictable about coming back with "S/He never did that before" when little post purchase issues arise. This one did not majikally learn this yesterday.

But, more important, the horse was at a familiar place with a familiar routine and now is in a new place.

WWID? NOTHING at this point. She will settle in given a little time. The habit is basically harmless unless it gets habitual or they panic. Ignore it, don't respond to the weave by going to her stall or anything, no drugs, supplements or toys. TIME and let her settle on her own. Nothing to "fix".

Sep. 1, 2009, 09:46 AM
I have not ever actually done this but many people with weavers will put a full length mirror across from their door and they say it stops it. Cannot say for certain however if this does work as never had a reason to try it. we had a mare here last winter to sell, she wasn't a "true" weaver but would do something along that line when she was anxious to be turned out. We just turned her out first, problem solved

Sep. 1, 2009, 09:47 AM
Oh man .... I remember a horse name Gel, weaver that would make you sea sick watching her. Her feet were a mess all worn down, put shoes on her and she would weave her shoes right off!

Unless the horse is just nervous of the new surroundings. Once a weaver always a weaver, and I bet the old owner knew about it. Weavers don't just happen over night!

I have no advice besides 24/7 turnout. This mare we had would take a bite of hay and weave, bite of grain and weave...

Sep. 1, 2009, 10:10 AM
Well, not everybody can handle 24/7 turnout, it does not exsist for a large portion of horseowners.

It certainly is totally impractical if it's a show horse that has to go to shows and live in stalls there with no turnout. Since this is a BB for those that do show, I will assume this one is going to spend time inside.

Still going to say that, depending on degree of course, it's not that big a deal and requires no panic in the rush to do something about it.

A regular excercise program, a good feeding program and some time to settle ought to mimimize this to where it is a minor annoyance only and only to us that have to watch it. She starts wearing her shoes off or wearing a trench in the floor, you got a bigger problem. You are not at that point.

You would laugh at mine coming in from 18 hours outside with her neighbor and BFF weaving when that feed wagon starts down the aisle.:rolleyes:.

Sep. 1, 2009, 10:32 AM
This mare is an appendix. Lived a show life, maybe too much time in her stall. I do have the option of having a stall with/attached paddock. Thanks for all the advice, I will try anything & everything. The only thing that I would not be able to do is 24/7 turnout, the weather in Upstate Ny is a little harsh.

Here is a pic of the new baby!


Sep. 1, 2009, 12:06 PM
This mare is an appendix. Lived a show life, maybe too much time in her stall. I do have the option of having a stall with/attached paddock. Thanks for all the advice, I will try anything & everything. The only thing that I would not be able to do is 24/7 turnout, the weather in Upstate Ny is a little harsh.

Here is a pic of the new baby!


What a pretty mare! I am sure that when you get her routine down and figure out her stress triggers, she will be fine.

I definately agree with maximizing her turnout and keeping hay in front of her and a buddy with her. I have one that doesn't quite weave....it's more of a pace the front of her stall....whenever she doesn't have her buddies around. She has a stall that has a half wall between her and her buddy. Not optimal for most horses but it works for her. She has a mini that lives in that stall. She seems to stay happy as long as her routine doesn't change and she has her mini buddy :) When we were at the other barn, it was most noticeable when everyone started getting turned out. The pacing would go into overdrive and she wore a trench in the front of her stall. She was not a favorite with the poor guy doing stalls :rolleyes:

Sep. 1, 2009, 12:09 PM
Better they weave a little than get ulcers. I view it a a coping mechanism for horses that are stressed by new situations (like losing the people they know and getting to new their new people) or some horses have a temperment that is more easily stressed. All the above management suggestions are great. I also think if the people around the horse get unset about the behavior it increases the stress around the horse and the behaviour may increase.
I currently have a weaver....he is an amazing horse and is prob. the most laid back horse I know to take to new places. He is smart, gets bored easily and wants to be the first at everything so he amuses himself by weaving. He is a orphan that almost got killed by his dying mother on the way to the vet clinic so he is a little worried about confined spaces like a stall (funny that he is fine in a trailer stall...neverweaves then). He started weaving early and it used to upset me and that made it increase. I now hardly see it and have tried to understand iit n terms of his way to cope. He never does it outside, in a trailer or on crossties....it is only in his stall when he is expecting something to happen (turnout, feed or his turn to get tacked up to ride).

Sep. 1, 2009, 12:43 PM
The stress of moving to a new environment could very well be what started the weaving. Once it has begun it's a lot harder to stop so nipping it in the bud is crucial.

This happend with a friend's horse and he was only moved to a bigger stall at the opposite end of the barn. Horse weaved pretty much non stop the entire time, they finally gave up and put him back in the old stall, he immediately stopped weaving. He lost quite a bit of weight too, during his weaving phase (which lasted maybe a week before he was moved back to his old stall).

Sep. 1, 2009, 01:09 PM
Moving to a new place and new owner can be stressful. Why not start her on Ulcergard ($30 a tube online) and give her a full tube a day for a few days and see if it helps at all. Might be able to get by reducing dose to 1/4 tube for a while and then off if she's gotten more relaxed about new place . . .

Sep. 1, 2009, 01:16 PM
I dunno, weaving does not mean it has ulcers and OP might want to wait a little and see if it calms down in a few weeks as opposed to shotgun meds for something that may not be there.

Even if it does have ulcers, treating them will not necessaily stop the weaving. They can be ulcer free and still drive you nuts weaving out of boredom or stress...or both.

I would just wait a few weeks and let time do it's magic.

Sep. 1, 2009, 01:33 PM
Probably little comfort but my sister's once in a lifetime great old jr hunter who is the nicest kindest horse in the world weaved like a sob his entire (nearly 15 year) horse show career! He's retired with me now and only weaves for the farrier but gets a lot more turnout and it is really quiet at my place. Try not to hold it against the new horse even though it is a very hard thing to "ignore". Congrats on your new horse.

Sep. 1, 2009, 02:48 PM
I have a weaver. He has had a full course of Gastro Guard, free choice hay, toys, chiro, probiotics...he just weaves. I hate the extra wear and tear he is putting on his legs (raced for 5 years too) but I have given up trying to stop him. He won't stay outside, he wants to come in. He also wants everyone else in with him. Two of his horses live out in the summer and it makes him crazy. We tried giving him a mini horse and he tried to kill it :no: If anything is different on the farm or he just doesn't think it should be so....he weaves.

You're not alone. Hopefully yours can be "fixed".