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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2008
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    Default What do you do with your weaver?

    My thbd is a little neurotic. He thinks himself integral to the farm and the herd. If anything is changed anywhere on the farm without consulting him, he gets very upset. Routine and order must be kept at all times. So, he weaves. And he nods. And he weaves some more. *SIGH*

    I worry about the additional wear and tear on his legs (50+ starts) and feel bad that he is such a bloody worrier. I pull out at night and as my headlights flash by the front of his barn I can see him weaving away. We have tried to give him a buddy (a mini) and he tried to kill it. His girlfriend pony mare is right across from him. He is knee deep in hay. I treated for ulcers. Can't put up a mirror due to the configuration of his barn. If he can't hang his head over, he weaves behind. Hang something in his usual spot....he finds another. He gets about 7 hours of turnout a day. Is not a 24/7 kind of guy....likes to come in and have his grain (of which he doesn't get much) and some hay and then a flat out on his side nap.

    Due to work and life I haven't been as consistent about being there every day lately and I wonder if that is the problem or if I flatter myself. He is pretty fit and maybe needs daily work to remain sane???

    Suggestions? TIA.
    "look deep into his pedigree. Look for the name of a one-of-a-kind horse who lends to his kin a fierce tenacity, a will of iron, a look of eagles. Look & know that Slew is still very much with us."



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 25, 2003
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    Default

    My horse is also a weaver. The first night I had him, I put him in a stall with a dutch door and he rubbed his neck bloody from weaving with his head over the door!

    That was that last night he stayed in a stall. Since then I've kept him out 24/7 with access to his stall. It's funny, when it's his choice to stand inside he doesn't weave. As soon as I put him in his stall, he starts.

    I've had him for 4 years and the weaving has diminished significantly. Mostly it's the 24/7 turnout. Partially I think it's because he's in familiar surroundings, partially it's because I've got him on a very low starch diet with alfalfa to help prevent ulcers. He's better when he's in regular work, too.

    The problem with weaving is that it's an OCD behavior. If you try to stop it, the behavior generally manifests itself in other ways. Mirrors generally do not have a long term effect even though they may initially seem to minimize the weaving. Hanging things to prevent a horse from weaving doesn't help either -- the horse isn't weaving because he wants to. I guess I'm not a big fan of punishing horses for anxiety related behaviors.
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.



  3. #3
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    Jan. 15, 2004
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    Lancaster, PA, USA
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    The one we got for my daughter is a stall weaver. He is fine outdoors, so he lives out except in nasty weather. In a stall I noticed he does weave when there is activity in the barn but once the lights are out/all activity is at an end he does stop. (On occasion I have fogotten something and popped back in the barn.....he is standing there quietly until he thinks something is going on/someone is coming or going and then he starts up again.) We have stalls with bars/no dutch doors to get a head over and rub like the previous poster.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 2005
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    New England
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    Default

    Unless he's rubbing himself raw, or in heavy competition where he's burning off needed energy, then I would say just leave him be. You could change diet to try to slow him down some, but it's hard to eliminate such an ingrained habit. It sucks, it's annoying, I have one and I know how you feel.
    He's doing something that feels good to him even though it's not good to you.
    Some methods I have seen people try over the years for weavers included one horse who was moved from an enclosed stall into an open one out in the corner of an arena. She calmed right down once she wasn't confined (claustrophobic).
    I've seen people hang plastic bottles filled with sand from the rafters, one on each side of the door where they weaved the most. Not sure how well that worked. People talk of mirrors, but I'm not sure how well that works either.
    Weavers can be persistant SOB's.
    All I can say is count your blessings he isn't a smoker!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2004
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    Been there, done that. Mine had 75 starts, was on the track until age 8. It's firmly ingrained in him, you can't beat it out with a stick. lol And sometimes you really want to.
    Mostly...I just try to minimize his stress, weaving is just their coping strategy when things get too much for their wee brains. They're used to VERY structured lives at the track, changes in the routine worry them, the backyard barn way of life is very confusing to them in the beginning. I agree about the 24/7 turnout, it's definitely made a difference in mine. I've had him for 7 years. The first year or so he would weave multiple times a day, just about every day, for every reason under the sun!! He wanted in, he wanted out, the horse next to him left, he didn't like the horse next to him, there were bugs, it was sprinkling......ad nauseum. Now he only weaves away from home...like at shows if he's tied to the trailer and he can't see other horses, or if I put him in a stall at a barn that's not his own.
    "You can't blame other people. You can't always say what happened wasn't my fault, and you know what? Even if you have an excuse, shut up. "Bruce Davidson Sr.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 26, 2005
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    Default

    I had a very bad weaver. The only thing that worked was for her to live outside with a run in shed and company.
    Good kuck !



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 17, 2003
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    Outdoors, run in shed, consistent company, quiet, predictable life.

    I had to move my 18 year old weaver from home (as described above) to a barn situation (private paddock with run-in shed, neighbors, so not exactly a prison cell) for a month recently--warned the staff that he might have an issue. I think they all though I was neurotic horse mom until he had an "episode."

    He'll start off by just weaving, then it will escalate. He'll get so worked up he doesn't know how to stop, totally lathered, wild eyed, weaving, digging, the works, poor guy. He'll do this at home sometimes if he wanders through an open gate and ends up in a different--though totally accessible--paddock to his buddies.

    I'm worried because his best pal is getting very old and creaky and isn't long for this world. I think he's going to be totally devastated when he goes.

    And God forbid you cross tie him. Trailering is interesting, too.



  8. #8
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    Sep. 25, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmine View Post
    My mare weaves CONSTANTLY when she's stalled. Even sedated, she weaves. In a box stall in a trailer? Weaving central.

    She's outside 24/7. Until foaling time (she's a broodmare). I try to lock her up as little as humanly possible, but I don't want her foaling outside in the herd. I give her LOADS of hay, and just deal with the weaving. The constant rhythmic footfalls are kind of hypnotic when heard over a baby monitor.

    I've tried putting up a mirror for her. That had worked with other weavers I knew. Not Mercedes. She ignored it. I tried bringing in her BFF. Not good enough. I tried putting her and her BFF in the SAME stall, not good enough. I've given up. I gave serious consideration to tying her with a breakaway halter, but decided to just deal with the weaving for the few months she's stalled. As soon as her kids can take it, she's back out 24/7.
    So maybe I'm being dumb here, but wouldn't it be smart to NOT breed a weaver so you don't pass that on to the babies? Somebody recently posted about their cribbing broodmare who then taught almost every one of her babies to also crib. I don't understand why people breed animals that display significant neurotic behavior. Aren't you afraid the babies will learn this trait?



  9. #9
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    Sep. 25, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmine View Post
    If she passed it on to her kids, I might worry. So far, not a single one of the three have learned to weave. In fact, her yearling filly is the most laid back, non neurotic horse you'll ever meet. So, before you judge you might want to find out all the facts.
    But every time you breed her, you're taking a chance she'll pass it on, aren't you? The first time you bred her, did you just figure, what the heck, lets give it a shot? Or did she start weaving after the first baby?

    I'm just intrigued by horses with significant behavioral issues, and the more I read these forums, the more you have to go, hmmmmmm.....

    I'm not trying to "judge" so much as to figure out why people choose to breed the animals they do.



  10. #10
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    Nov. 1, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Auventera Two View Post
    But every time you breed her, you're taking a chance she'll pass it on, aren't you? The first time you bred her, did you just figure, what the heck, lets give it a shot? Or did she start weaving after the first baby?

    I'm just intrigued by horses with significant behavioral issues, and the more I read these forums, the more you have to go, hmmmmmm.....

    I'm not trying to "judge" so much as to figure out why people choose to breed the animals they do.
    Do you really think this is a "passed on" or learned trait? Just curious. I once owned a "Weaver" and attributed it to him being on the race circuit and being stalled so much and bored? Hmmmmm.



  11. #11
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    Mar. 9, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Auventera Two View Post
    So maybe I'm being dumb here, but wouldn't it be smart to NOT breed a weaver so you don't pass that on to the babies? Somebody recently posted about their cribbing broodmare who then taught almost every one of her babies to also crib. I don't understand why people breed animals that display significant neurotic behavior. Aren't you afraid the babies will learn this trait?
    My understanding is that cribbing & weaving are not heritable. They're responses to stress. Which comes first? Is it nature or nurture? Some horses are put in very stressful environments that are not conducive to their mental health and they develop undesireable (to us!) coping strategies. It's possible that the same faulty wiring that predisposes a horse to these types of behaviors is passed on, but it doesn't mean that the foal of a cribber or weaver is genetically destined to do the same. I've read studies that debunk the theory that horses "teach" other horses to crib. I would not rule out a quality broodmare just because she cribbed.
    "You can't blame other people. You can't always say what happened wasn't my fault, and you know what? Even if you have an excuse, shut up. "Bruce Davidson Sr.



  12. #12
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    Jul. 13, 2006
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    We had a terrible cribber at our barn a few years back, didn't teach a single horse to crib. Right now we have 2 mild cribbers, still just doing their own thing. I did find an article before though that said that cribbing created the propensity towards passing it to offspring but it wasn't 100% that all babies of cribbers would be cribbers, just that they came soft wired for it if you will. Research found though that those horses that had cribbing parents, in general, still had an event that set off the cribbing (i.e.- huge rapid change in environment, large stress factors, poor diet). So cribbing sound like a nature/nuture combo.

    I've heard weavers though can be traced back to certain cirmcumstances like injury that meant they were confined large amounts escpecially at under age 2 I believe it was, and large stress factors early in development (hence track horses). I've seen cribbers learn that behavior later in life, but never heard of a weaver randomly picking up that vice out of the blue.



  13. #13
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    Nov. 23, 2001
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    Catharpin, Virginia
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    Sorry, didn't read all the posts.

    I inherited a terrible weaver that was a PG maiden mare. Talk about worrying about keeping weight on, losing the pregnancy due to that sort of horse OCD and/or having her offspring pick up the habit.

    I kept her OUT, 24/7 with a couple of other horses and it just disappeared! Turnout, turnout, turnout in a herd environment will get rid of most of this.

    I found that when I did have to bring her in, she'd weave when horses came in and out. As long as she had her buddy, she'd get over it rather quickly.

    When stalled pre-foaling she never weaved and did not revert to it once her baby was on the ground...her attention was focused elsewhere (taking care of her foal).

    He never developed the habit. It is not hereditary, just as cribbing is not hereditary.

    Turnout and lots of it with other horses. That was what I found to eliminate the problem. Don't get me wrong..put them back in closed stalll, they will revert. At least that was my experience.

    Best,

    Susan



  14. #14
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    Jan. 15, 2004
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    Lancaster, PA, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjrtango93 View Post
    We had a terrible cribber at our barn a few years back, didn't teach a single horse to crib. Right now we have 2 mild cribbers, still just doing their own thing. I did find an article before though that said that cribbing created the propensity towards passing it to offspring but it wasn't 100% that all babies of cribbers would be cribbers, just that they came soft wired for it if you will. Research found though that those horses that had cribbing parents, in general, still had an event that set off the cribbing (i.e.- huge rapid change in environment, large stress factors, poor diet). So cribbing sound like a nature/nuture combo.

    I've heard weavers though can be traced back to certain cirmcumstances like injury that meant they were confined large amounts escpecially at under age 2 I believe it was, and large stress factors early in development (hence track horses). I've seen cribbers learn that behavior later in life, but never heard of a weaver randomly picking up that vice out of the blue.
    I don't have much history on my weaver.....folks I got him from knew very little about horses PERIOD/they had him for only a year but he has a BIG old scar on his butt that is obviously old.



  15. #15
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    Nov. 2, 2006
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    My old mare was a weaver, and 24/7 access to the outside was the magic trick for her, she will stand in a stall just fine on her own accord, but lock her in and she will weave a hole to China.

    She started when a very large hydrolic lift was parked outside her stall for several hours. After that if she was confined she would weave...just her way of processing the stress.

    She did also improve with smartcalm ultra supplement, but ultimately the outside access was the best situation for her. Horses weren't meant to be boxed up---some of them adapt to it better than others.



  16. #16
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    Jan. 17, 2008
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    I guess I just let him weave. Luckily he is on dirt with rubber mats. He would be worse if you tried to leave him out 24/7. Then he would freak because his buddies are in and he is not. The herd is split, some come in at night and many stay out. I don't think he will be happy unless everyone is either in or out. Not going to happen.

    I have considered a calming supplement but am not wild about the idea.

    He is 12yo so I guess it is just a part of who he is. It does come and go though and I rarely know why. He became worse after a course of GG, much to my dismay. FWIW, none of the many other horses he has been stabled with has picked it up so I do not believe it is "catching".

    Are any of your weavers not thbds?
    "look deep into his pedigree. Look for the name of a one-of-a-kind horse who lends to his kin a fierce tenacity, a will of iron, a look of eagles. Look & know that Slew is still very much with us."



  17. #17
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    Jul. 13, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by sisu27 View Post
    Are any of your weavers not thbds?
    Believe it or not mine was a Norwegian Fjord. Weaved like no-ones business and stalled walked badly too. If he was out he was fine. Apparently when he was young he grew up with his brother (who I actually bought as a package deal) and was never seperated from him. When I got them they had to be split as they were re-sales. That started it all for the older one, the younger one could have cared less! So I am assuming that was his change of environment/stresser. Not sure if he did it before, I think I was the first person to stall him.



  18. #18
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    Jul. 25, 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmine View Post
    Mine's a TB. But she never raced, so it's not a racehorse only thing. She did compete highly in eventing, so I would guess it's a high-level competition thing.
    In my opinion, weaving, like cribbing, has a genetic component. If you look at TB lines and cribbing you can clearly see that certain genetic lines crib more than others. Weaving is a similar stereotypic behavior and I wonder if there isn't a gene that predisposes to stereotypic behaviors in general and which are triggered by environmental conditions.

    However, there are plenty of competition horses that don't crib or weave in the same environments.

    I have a horse that cribs and weaves so I have given quite a bit of thought to this and found some interesting research.
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.



  19. #19
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    Feb. 22, 2007
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    It's been said but I find the best thing for mine (who used to weave so badly he would ignore food) is just 24/7 turnout with a buddy. He still weaves occasionally (mostly when he sees me and wants food ), but hardly ever. He also was really nasty to all other horses in a stall, but is okay with them in turnout. It has really made a huge difference in his behavior, more than any management I tried in a stall.



  20. #20
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    Jan. 31, 2007
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    I have a weaver...

    He's my own homebred (all TB)

    He doesn't weave at all at home. He's never been to the track.

    He weaves only when he's at a show. No amount of handwalking will stop it.

    What has been successful to a medium degree - ulcerguard at shows and tying him up (safety tie and twine string) w/ hay and water the second he starts weaving. He breathes a sigh of relief and eats his hay. When the barn is quiet again, he is untied and he doesn't weave too much after that...

    His mom does not weave.

    For him - it is stress related. And that is all.



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