weaving and fence walking

Discussion in 'Problem Horses' started by Mach, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. Mach

    Mach New Member

    is there any way to prevent horses from weaving in the box or walking the fence in the paddock.
    the horse currently has a paddock buddy and adlib hay and feed but will still spend most of the day walking the fenceline aimlessly not running but just shuffling along non stop.. and in the stable will generally stand in the corner and weave back and forth between mouthfulls of food. Only in light work and not doing anything strenuous, quiet in all other aspects and eating quite well.. but this habit id driving me crazy

    ideas or suggestions would be appreciated :)

  2. Nattyh

    Nattyh Guest

    Hi Mach,
    This is such a hard one.
    I had a gelding (who was a colt/young stallion at the time) who fenced walked from the day he stepped off the truck. As he was a very expensive import, you can imagine my horror!
    I tried sooooo so many things to stop him - each new trick i tried seemed to work at first, but was always temporary. Initially I focussed on eliminating every situation that caused him to stress, but in the end, and to cut a very long story short, I simply hobble trained him.
    Whenever he started to fence walk, the hobbles would go on and as soon as he chilled out they would come off.
    Even now if he gets stressed and he will still go straight to the fence, but those times are few and far between thankfully.
    I no longer need to hobble him to break the cycle- usually a chat or a kiss and cuddle and he's right again - but I am very lucky that I can see them all from my kitchen window. I am also very lucky that i got him young - I suppose if you catch it early on- like any habit- Its going to be a bit easier to break than a long standing one?
    He is older now and a little more grown up and less worried about the world. I would never get rid of my hobbles though!
    If your bloke is a little older and has been pracitising this for a while, he will probably not even need a reason to do it anymore- it just becomes such an ingrained behaviour and basically a bad habit.
    If he is new to it, perhaps try to pin point what it is that sets him off and see if you can reduce his stress - but if he developed this habit long before you got him, probably the only thing you can do now is manage the symptoms- which is to say that you would need to physically prevent him from walking the fence. I would personally look at medicating a horse with a long standing habit of this nature, at least during the transition to him to being an 'ex-fence walker' - I imagine it would be extremely stressful for anyone to go cold turkey from a habit they have been doing for a long time - imagine perhaps an older child who is still using a dummy - they can become extremely agitated if suddenly they find themselves without one after years of using it.

    The fact that he is a also weaver makes me suspect that someone may have tried to stop the fencewalking by stabling him? I have never had a weaver so I can't speak from experience on that one, but if I did, my first first thought would be to not ever have him locked up and then I would try to manage the fencewalking in the paddock by hobble training.
    I would not allow a horse in my care to continue with fence walking (even if it is otherwise appears happy and healthy) as legs and joints do now fare well with those miles under the belt. I have seen them fencewalk in a box too- it is sooo bad for their joints :-(

    Anyway, you have asked for people's experience/advice, so now you have mine- which may or may not be helpful! I hope helpful. Good luck with him.
  3. Go the Distance

    Go the Distance Well-known Member

    This is a very difficult habit to break. I have a QH yearling gelding that I picked straight away had the potential to become this so he has spent minimal time yarded and when he is yarded he has adlib hay and a paddock mate yarded next door. He has a naturally stressy personality and gets concerned about matters easily. He also relies heavily on a dominant paddock mate to function in the paddock. He is currently in with a bossy broodmare who gives him hell but he is very settled and happy.

    I have seen success with hobbling but the potential will always be there to revert back to this behaviour. Be careful of putting in any young stock with him as they can learn the behaviour from him. Is he off the track? Weaving is a bit like wind sucking and is often instilled deeply in them by the time we get them after they have had a racing career.

    Maybe try and put him with an older dominant horse so that he wants to stay with them rather than pace up and down.

    Best of Luck with him and I hope he improves.
  4. Mach

    Mach New Member

    thanks guys, he is 10 year old TB who has been doing it his whole life. I didnt think there was much that could be done but thought i would ask. I have only had him a few months and he is fine once your doing something with him or tie him up but i am at work most of the day and usually come home to a trench and sweaty horse. So im at wits end because obviously cant keep the weight on him and sorting out back and joint issues which in the end seem pointless ';'
  5. Nattyh

    Nattyh Guest

    Yeah, bad luck Mach, you are really in a tough situation with this one and (at the risk if getting crucified by the masses) on the basis of what you have described, my thoughts would be about his quality of life and if it really is ok for him to see out his natural life enduring these afflictions. After all, he doesn't have plans for the future, so it makes no difference to him if he is here the next day and the next, unless of course he is having a bad time of it which sounds like he may in which case he may be better off not seeing the next day...
    I'm pretty pragmatic about these things and many will not agree with me and that is their prerogative of course. Try the hobbles there are lots of good trainers around who can help you with that. Always keep his welfare as your top priority and if he is not with you, Will he be taken care of elsewhere.
    Best wishes.
  6. Secret85

    Secret85 Well-known Member

    I have no suggestions for you Mach - I too have a fence walker. :(
    GTD, my youngster sounds similar to your yearling, but I haven't had my youngster long and am not sure if he did this with his previous owners.

    My horse paces the fence of his wiwo whilst waiting for his feed or his girlfriend to be put in the yard next to him (he is slowly getting better as the time between him being brought in and girlfriend being brought in is extended), but he doesn't pace the fence line next to his girlfriend, he paces the fence furtherest from her, looking out away from her...
    I say girlfriend as he quite likes the ladies and is rather attached to this one. He is a 3yo and was gelded at 17 months.

    In the paddock, when he was next to the ladies, he didn't pace, but stood in the sun next to the ladies for most of the day. This paddock was further away from the road. Now that he is away from the ladies, and with the men, he is next to the road. As soon as he goes into this paddock, he paces, mostly at a walk, but he does canter too. He paces on the road side, looking over the road at green grassed paddocks, and horses in the distance that never call back. He can touch one boy over the fence, and can see all other horses on the property.
    In this paddock (dry sand, but with the recent rain, the grass is starting to shoot up), he does stop and rest, but paces most of the time. Suprisingly, he hasn't lost weight!
    I do take him for walks and take him right up to the fence line of the property he looks at whilst pacing, but he doesn't show any interest in it when with me. I wonder if it reminds him of the place I bought him from and he is looking for his old friends?

    He is going to the breakers soon and I'll be getting him hobble trained. I'm hoping that he will become more of an independant horse after his time at the breakers, especially once he has a job to do.

    Any one got any other ideas?
  7. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    Has anyone tried putting interferences along the fence lines?

    If you have electrics on the fence, you could use tempory electric standards and electric tape and run lines out at right angles towards the centre of paddock. Make the lines all different lengths and curve some around a bit so that he does not just make a new track around the new lines, he will get directed around in a curve and caused to change direction....does that make sense?????';'

    You could also change these new lines periodically so that he does not just form a new track. Make sure the lines are different lengths, short and long and medium to break his habit.

    Put obsticles in the way, and plop biscuits of hay along the way also, so try to give him something else to do.

    Throw some large carrots out around the paddock.

    Tie some flappy plastic bags on the offending fence lines.

    Trot poles in his track and irregular angles, with some raised to a small jump size.

    Another idea, for those that have a horse that paces only one fence line. Try using tempory fencing to angle off that fence into the top of a triangle, so when he goes to pace that fence line, he only has a point to stand in, not a fence line. You might find he just stands there, because to pace he would be pacing away from the direction he wants to be....hope that makes sense. I wish I could draw that....actually I could draw that and take a pic, if anyone wants me to.;)
  8. Nattyh

    Nattyh Guest

    Oh yep Deb, all that and more :)
    You can't imagine the time and energy spent on trying to solve this. As GTD said - it's basically Obsessive/compulsive Disorder and not really about the fence at all :-/
  9. kp

    kp Well-known Member

    Hate fence walkers. They annoy the hell out me. Very hard problem to stop. Especially if you can't always be there. My last was a young horses and would start up when he became agitated over something. Which was pretty much anything. As soon as he started I would tie him up in his yard. If he started to weave or paw. I would sedate him. Once he settled I would go let him go. It would even tie this horse up before he started walking if I know one of his triggers was going to be around. I no longer have a problem with him walking/running the fence line.

    Have you tried putting him in different paddocks to try and figure out what his trigger maybe?
  10. citygirl

    citygirl Gold Member

    try treating the horse for stomach ulcers, Whey Powder is great and cheap to add to feeds everyday.

    Good luck

  11. Go the Distance

    Go the Distance Well-known Member

    I have been a bit of hard bunny in the past with horses with such afflictions. I have euthanased wind suckers before when thier affliction has started to effect thier weight and all the other gut issues that go with it. I have had a couple of wind suckers in the past that when you put a collar on them they will then just start to weave instead of suck:(.

    I was present once when a wind sucking horse I had euthanased was quartered up. I asked if I could open up the gut and have a look. It was awful, patches of open raw bleeding gut lining. This horse must have had terrible pain for such a long time.

    Try all the things that everyone has suggested but if you feel the horse has a poor quality of life after trying all of the above then be brave and do the right thing by it.
  12. Secret85

    Secret85 Well-known Member

    I got what you meant without pictures Deb2. :)
    Being on agistment, some of those suggestions may be harder to implement, but I'll definitely suggest them. Thank you. :)
    I forgot to mention earlier, my boy is on alka pellets.
  13. Few years ago we bought a mare that fence walked for over a year.:eek: She was a show mare, hated to be boxed and couldn't handle changes. So she walked and walked and walked.... getting plenty of excersise for herself. I was very disturbed for starters, nothing seemed to stop her from walking, so we put her in the big paddock where I couldn't see her (therefore couldn't get upset) to find her one day in the middle of it very content and happy. We later on planted trees for boundary fences in the trench she made by walking. It worked out well for us.*#)
  14. PetaBizz

    PetaBizz Well-known Member

    I like this result!! ;)
  15. citygirl

    citygirl Gold Member

    pmsl Lena **) love it

    I have a fence walker, seen all the above tried on others and it just made me sad to see horses in Hobbles, stuck in tyre's , have tyres tied onto them etc to stop them from walking ...and... no it didnt work.:(

    I dont do anything { apart from feed Whey powder for 16 years } and he only really walks when he can see me :eek: or its feed time !.

    Last edited: Apr 14, 2012
  16. Secret85

    Secret85 Well-known Member

    Not sure if the hobbles comment was written in regards to what I wrote... But if it was; I have no intention of putting my horse in the paddock with hobbles.
    I intend on them being used to help him realise that he can be an independant horse. If I do need to use them, they will be used in his yard, for short, supervised periods only.
    I am however, hoping that I don't need to use them. I don't like the idea of restricting a horse like that and he does seem to slowly be improving. They will be used as a last resort, but I will ask the trainer to hobble train him whilst he is there, just in case I do need to use them.
  17. Nattyh

    Nattyh Guest

    Secret, as you know, this thread was started because someone was looking for helpful and constructive ways to manage a chronic fence walker - so I cant understand why another horselover would mock you or anyone else for exploring all options to help their horse with a chronic problem?
    I would have ignored the post but as it seems to have upset you, and you are trying to do your best also, i am sticking my nose back in.
    I commend you and anyone who is looking out for their horse's welfare. It is our obligation to do so.

    The OP's horse is not just getting agitated at feed time or when it sees the owner- it is a chronic problem and the owner is looking for help, not cynicism.

    On the other hand, perhaps she does simply need to ignore the behaviour for a couple of years (joints can be replaced can't they?) and add whey powder and it will be magically be cured. Perhaps you can try that too Secret and let us know how you go?
  18. kiraSpark

    kiraSpark Gold Member

    My old TB mare was just like this. Sometimes it seems to be hard-wired into them. Did my head in. I agree with others suggestions to check for ulcers first and foremost though.

    You could always try a shin tap. This worked for my old mare. They are commonly used for pawing (like when eating from a tub or when tied up, or for pawing in the float). They are a 'softer' option than hobbles, but in saying that we hobble train all ours too, and they quite happily graze all day wearing dinner hobbles if necessary. But the shin tap works best for a fence walker, and allows them more leg freedom to graze.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  19. Go the Distance

    Go the Distance Well-known Member

    I don't have an issue with hobbles at all or shin straps. But then I leg restrain as well. If you play up at my house and all other avenues have failed then you get the stirrup leather on your front leg for a few mintues;).

    If I hadn't used this technique on that feral mare of mine she would have killed me many times over. She knows now if she gives me shite while I am bandaging her legs or do something to her feet then the strap goes on. I don't tolerate her cow kicking and lashing out at me. It is dangerous and uncalled for and she has no reason to do it other than the fact she won't let go of issues from before I got her.

    I think that the horseworld has got very namby pamby at the expense of us having safe, happy, well behaved horses.

    If the OP feels that they need to use hobbles or a shin strap then go for it.
  20. citygirl

    citygirl Gold Member

    Nattyh @) gee did you get your knickers in a knot?

    No Secret85 my post was not at you.

    I've seen Hobbled horses standing in yards & paddocks- and dislike it with a passion ... it is usually because the owner has a hang up about the horse- not the horse !..and for what - can I ask? because the OWNER / Agistment Owner doesn't like looking at the horse walking its fence?? - get over it..and look the other way like Lena & I did / do . makes life so much less stressful **)


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