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Weaving - can you break the habit?

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  • Weaving - can you break the habit?

    I have been in the market for a new project for quite some time now. Ive been extremely particular and finally I came across the PERFECT horse for me. Only problem is he may be a very mild weaver.

    Ive owned a weaver before and he was chronic. The second you would put him in a stall he would weave or if he was left in the pasture by himself, he would weave at the gate. HORRIBLE.

    Anywho, the Trainer selling the horse I am interested in says that he will stay in a stall from 5pm to 9 am and he has only weaved once all the other horses have left the barn and he was last to turn out in the morning. She said he is turned out with one other gelding and when that horse is taken away from him, he does not weave at the gate. He doesnt seem like a very bad weaver to me.

    The horse I buy will be turned out 24/7 most likely BUT I do shows that would require him to stay in a stall for the weekend. Of course I would take the weaving into consideration where I would keep him out of his stall the majoriety of the day and when kept in, have food in front of him the whole time.

    My question is, can you break a weaver of this habit? Is it like cribbing where they will do it the rest of their life and addictive? This guy seems extremely mild. Maybe is he just stays 'busy' he wont do it?

    Thanks for any input.

  • #2
    My question is, can you break a weaver of this habit?
    In my experience, no.
    Is it like cribbing where they will do it the rest of their life and addictive?
    Yes.
    This guy seems extremely mild. Maybe is he just stays 'busy' he wont do it?
    Even though he may only do it when in the stall it is still a very destructive vice that may cause him to lose weight from the continuous activity, and could be linked to ulcers.
    Patty Stiller CNBBT,CNBF,CLS, CE
    Natural Balance Certified Lameness Specialist ,instructor.
    www.hoofcareonline.com

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    • #3
      I'm with Patty. I own a weaver who I have "cured" in that I have developed a management style that makes it so he doesn't weave, but when we have had to deviate from that he goes back to it, even if it has been years since I've seen him weave. It's more a compulsion than a habit and you definitely should not count on it going away, you'll have to decide if you can live with it.
      exploring the relationship between horse and human

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      • #4
        My weaver doesn't weave if he's turned out 24/7.

        He's gotten better in that he no longer weaves when he's in his stall to eat.

        However, he will weave when he gets stressed or anxious.

        So, my answer is that you can likely minimize weaving but not totally eliminate it.
        Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
        EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Bogie View Post
          My weaver doesn't weave if he's turned out 24/7.

          He's gotten better in that he no longer weaves when he's in his stall to eat.

          However, he will weave when he gets stressed or anxious.

          So, my answer is that you can likely minimize weaving but not totally eliminate it.
          echo

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          • #6
            Mine does it only when waiting to eat now, and it's become more of a head bob than a full-fledged weave. He's only been in a stall once in four years, for a four day show, and didn't do it then. But he's extremely lazy by nature--he must have been really desperate to do it at all.

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            • #7
              I have heard people say their horse's weaving was manageable, but they were not there all day long to see them and they did weave more than they thought, looking at the damage to their front legs.

              I was interested in a horse, the fellow said he didn't weave but lightly in the stall, the trainer said the same, the horse's hooves were badly deformed from all the weaving he was doing outside and they were not aware of it, were not seeing him out in the corner of a pasture weaving or walking the fenceline back and forth, when the other horses were grazing peacefully.
              You could see the low spot where he stood weaving and the little deep path he had made.
              I think they didn't want to see that he was weaving, out of sight, out of mind.

              We had several weavers while in race training and generally, we had some siblings before that also were weavers, the tendency is inherited, I think.
              We had a few that truly only did it at feeding time, but they were young and probably would escalate as they got older, unless managed where they didn't stress and in mostly turnout.

              There was a trainer that had a little pet monkey he would tie to the door of a weaver and when the horse stuck it's head and started weaving, the moneky would paw and scold it and they would quit, or get inside to weave.
              He said he cured some of it with the monkey.

              I think that if a horse feels a compulsive need to weave, to keep him from it thru vice breaker shock collars or such will just make them more anxious and maybe bring out other vices, like cribbing.
              Management, working on minimizing the anxiety will help with those OCD compulsions, but since life is full of some kind of stress all the time, even just moving horses around or waiting for food is one to horses, it is very hard.

              Maybe some day we will have Zanax for horses.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Bluey View Post


                I think that if a horse feels a compulsive need to weave, to keep him from it thru vice breaker shock collars or such will just make them more anxious and maybe bring out other vices, like cribbing.

                Management, working on minimizing the anxiety will help with those OCD compulsions, but since life is full of some kind of stress all the time, even just moving horses around or waiting for food is one to horses, it is very hard.
                I have read that studies show exactly that -- if you force a horse to stop weaving, the need for the OCD behavior doesn't go away, it just manifests itself differently.

                I have an OTTB that cribs and weaves. He is "managed" through diet, exercise and plenty of turnout but there are many barn situations that would not suit him.

                Why horses weave
                Weaving: Prevention and Implications
                Diet can influence stereotypic behaviors in horses
                Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

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                • #9
                  24/7 turnout is not a cure-all -- many weavers still weave outside -- but for a mild weaver it might resolve it. Our weaver (a QH who weaved due to never being turned out, ever) stopped weaving when we moved him to 24/7 turnout at a very relaxed facility. Later in life he could spend the night in the stall and not weave. But again, the barn was very low-key. Even turnout at a busy place might overstress one. I would look for a barn that is very relaxed and low-key, that keeps them out all the time.

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                  • #10
                    I've had a horse boarded at my farm for 10 years now. When I first got him at age 20, he cribbed but I never saw him weave. He has picked up this habit in the last several years. I keep him outside except in really cold or wet weather and he does not weave in the pasture, however he does go to the fence occasionally and crib. When he is in a stall he will only weave when anxious or stressed. I put a cribbing strap on him in the barn and I wonder if the inability to crib might have brought on the weaving. His weaving is mostly swinging his head and neck back and forth. His feet never leave the ground. He's turning 30 this Spring and is still sound so it hasn't affected his health in an obvious fashion. Its just annoying as heck to deal with in the barn.
                    Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

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                    • #11
                      I had a very mild weaver--just when he was waiting to be turned out. It didn't bother me at all. The one you are looking at sounds similar. If otherwise he is exactly what you are looking for, it wouldn't stop me. But you never know until you get them home. I don't suppose a trial is possible?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bogie View Post
                        My weaver doesn't weave if he's turned out 24/7.

                        He's gotten better in that he no longer weaves when he's in his stall to eat.

                        However, he will weave when he gets stressed or anxious.

                        So, my answer is that you can likely minimize weaving but not totally eliminate it.
                        This for mine. She weaved when she was upset. Kept her to a regular routine, predictable, she stopped entirely. Turn the horse in the stall on the left out first instead of the one on the right, and weave-weave-weave. So, it was entirely manageable if she knew the routine.

                        Could not imagine ever stabling her at a show. She'd have weaved her legs off and driven everyone crazy.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The horse's weaving may be mild at his current location, but i wonder if the weaving increases when stressed and will increase when you take him home? Something to consider. Might be worth seeing the horse, and if interested in it, go back and watch how he behaves when it is time to come in, or time to eat.
                          Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

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                          • #14
                            My horse weaves when in the trailer. I've given up trying to stop her. I don't tie her up now as she will pressure her neck. She has NEVER done it anywhere else so I don't worry about it. Hate it but nothing I can do about it. Can you ask them for a trial to make sure the horse doesn't weave at your place too badly?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Mine will weave in the stall when there is activity going on around her. As far as I can tell, for her it has to do with human activity, not other horses. She can stay in the barn all day by herself and will stand quietly, but the second anyone walks in or she hears something going on and can't see what it is, weaving away she goes. She is coming 17 this year, and I've owned her for 12. I've never tried to stop her, and she doesn't show any ill effects that I've seen. I just figure it is what it is.

                              Caitlin
                              Caitlin
                              *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
                              http://community.webshots.com/user/redmare01

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                              • #16
                                I have owned four weavers. Two were chronic and constant whenever they became anxious, inside or outside. The other two were mild - okay 95% of the time and only weaving under high stress (such as waiting on grain to be doled out). All 4 learned to wear a pair of soft rope hobbles and it completely controlled the times that they wanted to weave. I highly recommend hobbling but it needs to be taught by someone who knows how to teach them - you don't just slap them on and let the horse struggle. Most horses take a few sessions - one of my horses took to hobbles in one session.

                                There are a few times they wont work - one is in a pasture setting with horses crowding and fussing with each other. The other is long-term stalling with little exercise (stall rest for an injured horse). Other than that - they worked great for me - at shows, pastured or stalled.

                                I actually have one who will weave now but apparently it only happens when it snows - he doesn't see it often enough.
                                Susan N.

                                Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by bludejavu View Post
                                  I have owned four weavers. Two were chronic and constant whenever they became anxious, inside or outside. The other two were mild - okay 95% of the time and only weaving under high stress (such as waiting on grain to be doled out). All 4 learned to wear a pair of soft rope hobbles and it completely controlled the times that they wanted to weave. I highly recommend hobbling but it needs to be taught by someone who knows how to teach them - you don't just slap them on and let the horse struggle. Most horses take a few sessions - one of my horses took to hobbles in one session.
                                  This is what my BO did. The mare was fine turned out but would weave in a stall. She trained her to hobbles so that she could wear them when they went to shows that required overnight stabling. It worked really well, and I think it didn't cause other OCD behaviors because they limited it to the 5 or 6 show weekends each year; she was turned out at home.

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