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Weaving
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renoo
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Joined: Wed Mar 28th, 2007
Location: Latvia
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 Posted: Thu Aug 30th, 2007 12:32 pm
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So, I have had some changes in my life - I have a riding horse now.

He's a 14yr old warblood gelding of driving type. He has spent most of his previous life outside, with one more horse. A year ago he was moved to a stable near the city. Had another move, now for about two weeks, he is stabled again in the stable near the city.

The problem is that he has started weaving. I have heard about this problem before, but I had never came across a horse that would really do this. So did his owner - she had never addressed this as problem, becasue earlier, when he was still in the country, he didn't weave, and when moved into stable, he would do that only when really nervous - like before feeding. When he had barred doors, he also wouldn;t weave... Now he does this almost all the time, especially when there is something happening - horses moving, people working, feed getting prepared.

Dr. Deb... As I remember You telling that example about the crib-biting horse, maybe there is something you can advise about weaving also? And what bad effects can this continued weaving have on the horse's health?

The owner got advice to hang a board above his head, so that he would hit the borad every time he tries weaving. At first putting it level of ears, then moving it downwards.. Could it be the only solution?

Thanks beforehand...

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Aug 30th, 2007 06:52 pm
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Renoo, the story I told about how the cribber was cured was NOT about hitting him with anything, even very tiny pebbles. The point you and others were to have gotten from that story is that it is the TIMING. There must be a live, perceptive, and loving "operator". This is what is wrong with those electric shock collars, too. I recently received in the mail a promotional CD disk from one of the well self-advertised pseudo-horsemanship clinicians, where he is promoting one of those products. I can't tell you how utterly disgusted I was to see it. This is NOT the way and never will be. The "board he bangs his head on" is no different.

As to weaving: yes, this is a stereotypy just as cribbing is a stereotypy. It indicates that the horse's Birdie is not with him. The solution therefore lies, first, in finding out where the horse's Birdie actually is. Was it left at the previous farm when they loaded the horse in the trailer? If so, it may arrive in a few days. Or, is it rather out in a field where there are other horses with whom the horse in question wants to be?

Once you figure out where the WB's Birdie is, you can take steps to help it come back to him. When it does come back, so long as it is with him, he'll be just OK and when he feels like that, he will not weave.

The steps you take to help the Birdie come back MIGHT include flicking him with wee pebbles -- the smaller the better. But it might also involve going in the stall with him, haltering him, and asking him to step under the body-shadow with the inside hind leg a couple of times, then when this causes him to let down, then mess with him a little bit, maybe pick up a couple of feet -- things that make a small demand upon his attentiveness.

When you have done this, then you leave him but not too far away. Maybe you fix this so it happens when you have a little work to do about the barn. You keep your eye on him. As soon as he starts looking internally uncomfortable, but ideally before he actually starts weaving again, you go in there again and you mess with him again. Again, Renoo -- it's the TIMING that leads to success. Rather than having to call the Birdie back, you are fixing it up so that it never does actually leave. You interfere with the Birdie's leaving every time you give the horse something to do where he has to focus on the present moment and the present situation and the present demand being made of him.

You can mix this in with taking him out of the stall, grooming, riding, hand-grazing, groundwork, and any other excuse you can think of to just mess with him. Every time you mess with him, you are supporting him. When you do this, you are wiser than he is and you are conveying to him that same ability to be wise, which in his case means to realize that he can be OK within himself, he can pack his own Birdie with him, no matter where he is, whether he is with other horses or on his old stomping grounds, or not.

Hope this is clear, and that it changes your thinking. We live in a culture that is almost universally crude and violent, and that's where the electric shock collars, and the bangboards, and the misinterpretation of the pebble story come from -- the thought that how you succeed is by making war. This is about getting things done by making peace. Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

renoo
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Joined: Wed Mar 28th, 2007
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 Posted: Fri Aug 31st, 2007 07:43 am
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Thanks =]

He doesn't have the "bangboard" as of yet, it was just an advice that was given, but I thought there has to be something else...

I'll try some of this, and will report how we did.

renoo
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Joined: Wed Mar 28th, 2007
Location: Latvia
Posts: 72
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 Posted: Thu Sep 6th, 2007 09:49 am
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So... took some time with studies starting again...

day 1 - I came to the stable, it was quite peaceful, and the horse didn't weave at all. saddled him up [still not weaving] - went for a ride, came home, unsaddled - everything's fine - until I went to change my clothes and when going out to leave, i noticed he had started weaving again - it was food time - i stood beside him, while i was there, he didn;t weave, as I went away, he started again. soon got his food, and started to eat [no weaving thus].

day 2 - came to stable and dressed just at the time when food was given out again. Tango [that's the horse's name] was weaving what I would call viciosly - I went to him, but he wouldn't pay any attention to me. went ito his stall - asked him to move - well that helped ad he stopped weaving - but he quite obviosly showed me that he didn;t like being disturbed - he flattened his ears and looked at me kind of mildly threatening me. I tried moving him again - and this time his response looked more threatening - as I wasn't sure what to do, i waited while he got his food. stopped weaving.

other days: observations: he is weaving mostly at feeding time, or when other horses are turned out [they are turned out for the whole night - Tango isn't, because the current leaders don't like him - and to prevent fighting and unnecessary wounds, he is turned out at other times.]

the "agression" really bothered me. I would decribe this as if he was in a trance, dreaming about food, and thus weaving, and was set off by me asking him to move.

he has a horse on both sides, and a window to see the field - he really enjoys looking through the window, because riders get on their horses right outside that window... actually he is very nervous without other horses - yesterday we went riding alone to the park - he neighed to the other horses as soon as we left the yard, he was really nervous all the time while we were simply walking. we had been alone after riding - like coolling off - but warming up ended up quite nervous for both of us. we have been to the park with anothre horse - and is was actually a pleasure... also - yesterday after wraming up in the park, we did some riding in the arena [outdoors] - and while I was there, there was another rider with her horse. when they left and went to the stable, he got really nervous again [there were no horses around] - neighing, and becoming extremely tense. As we were cooling off, and had finished riding, i waited purposedly while the other horse went away, and only then lead Tango to the stable - restricting him to a peacful walk and some turns away.

so.. what this whole story tells me - his birdie is definately with other horses. and weaving is the expression of this when he's in the stable. yesterday he started weaving after our ride - he stops as soon as I approach, and pet him. he starts weaving when I'm saddling him up sometimes - just as I put saddle on his back, he starts this. I ask him to move - he stops weaving and moves. then I get back to saddling, and he starts weaving again... except for the agressive reaction, he weaves less then before, probably getitng more familiar with this stable.


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