windsucking at a very young age

Discussion in 'Problem Horses' started by Erika Roberts, Dec 12, 2004.

  1. Erika Roberts

    Erika Roberts Active Member

    my friend has this 3 month old foal. he is kept in a big paddock with his mum. our other horses are in the bottom paddock and then there is 3 horses on the property next door. one of there horses windsucks and rusty (the foal) has started copying. is it posible to stop a very very young horse from windsucking. if we move him to another paddock with no wood posts is it posible to stop him from windsucking?

  2. Kasia

    Kasia Well-known Member

    Horses windsuck on anything, not just wood.
    The jury is still out whether windsucking is something that horses copy or not.
    It's also still up in the air why they do it. Some say boredom, some say ulcers, some say bad diet. I agree with the bad diet theory personally.
    You can try moving him, for sure. No harm in that.
  3. Paint8

    Paint8 Well-known Member

    If he is actually windsucking it won't matter if he has no posts, I have seen them windsuck on gates, star pickets and wood off the ground.

    She should try and electrify everything, it is not too expensive and may get him out of the habbit before it is too late...
  4. Erika Roberts

    Erika Roberts Active Member

    yea the paddock they are in now has electric fences

  5. alex

    alex Well-known Member

    I have seen one windsuck on nothing... Just solid air! My own horse is a windsucker but i keep his collar on most of the time and he has not taught my other horse to do it yet and it has been over 6 months since i got him. He picked it up at his old racing stable... I have heard that it makes them high? Or something like that... But as it doesnt affect his riding performance and it isnt seeming to affect his weight and condition then i am not really worried about it...


    ~*~A horse is only as good as its rider~*~
  6. Astana

    Astana New Member

    I have a windsucker. In most cases it's stress, boredom or copying that teaches them.
    The horse I have with it is in fully electric fenced yard/paddock with stacks of feed/hay. He's holding his weight well and I am yet to see him do it again since he arrived (first couple of days).
    As far as stopping the youngster doing it, I'd be moving him off the corresponding fenceline fast.
    Windsucking is the same as smoking if you want to put it into laymans terms. Releases endorphins in the brain.
    I have a now elderly gelding that learnt to windsuck at the place her was sent to to be educated to saddle. He was put in a paddock with a cronic windsucker and of course picked up the habit.
    Also had a mare come to me in the past that was a major cronic.
    All of these horses I stopped doing it (as in as sure as I can be by watching them for hours every day) by using a windsucking collar on them. Most people only do them up to touch tight. I did them up so the horse had no chance of getting into that position required for the sucking. It only needs to be that tight for about 4 weeks.
    With all the cases I've had after that period I've been able to throw the collar away permanently.
    I don't know how you'd go doing this method to such a youngster.
    Wishing you good luck.

  7. Remaani

    Remaani Guest

    Correct me if im wrong but i thought Windsucking is wen they arch their neck & gulp in air & Crib biting is wen their have a hold on anything & do practially the same thing? My filly was gulping in air in a line up at a show so i rang the vet two days later explaining it & he said it was Windsucking, hence she gets bored in the lineups & she is on a superb diet & very healthy but ive neva noticed her do it at home!
  8. Lorraine

    Lorraine New Member

    I do not believe it is a habit that can be copied. Modern research backs that up. I do believe it is often affected by temperament and by environment, and that includes diet. I would treat for ulcers and feed plenty of bulk food, hay etc to avoid boredom.
    I have several windsuckers and noone has ever copied it. I also have a lot of experience of keeping horses in UK. All sorts of stable vices are more prevalent there, mainly because horses are stabled for longer period of time. They don't copy it, but if placed under similar stresses can start it if they are that type of horse.

    Windermere Cleveland Bay and Warmblood Sporthorses
  9. horse girl Jess

    horse girl Jess Well-known Member

    Hey Erika,
    My horse is a thoroughbred gelding and he also windsucks. The reson my he windsucks is because when he was in racing he was fed way to much energy food. Most racing stables feed heeps of high-in-energy foods had not the right amount of roughage. This almost alway leads to olcers in the belly and digestion problems. To easy the pain horse try to distract them selves by dont other things such as crib biting. They mainly start windsucking because of crib biting and after a while they get addicted to windsucking just like some people chew their fingernails. Some horses will stop windsucking and some wont. They can also start windsucking because of boredom, watching other horses do it(as studies can prove) and also belive it or not, the way they are handled .You can try puting the foal in a differant paddock, but has it been weaned from its dam? If it hasnt then putting it in a differant paddock from its dam may cause it some stress and it will start windsucking for comfort. I would also add that you should put a windsucking colar on
    --->IMEDIATLY<---!!!!! The sooner you can prevent it from happening the better, however you will have to cheack the tightness of the colar every day because foal's heads grow very quickly. Seeming it is a foal every one knows that they get bored very easily. You keep it entertained you could buy some horse toy like balls and tug-a-wat ropes, even witches hats are fun! If it is possible maybe the foal could be in with another horse of a similar age. I hope this helps!
  10. Shakhaan

    Shakhaan Well-known Member

    I beg to differ on the assumption that windsucking is not a copied habit. I have seen horses with no stable vices at all be stabled next to one, and within a matter of weeks, have started doing it themselves. Boredom is definately a factor.

    Collars don't stop them from doing it, they only stop them from being able to gulp in the air, thus receiving a "rush". It has been proven that it makes them high, much like using drugs, which is why once they start, they get hooked. Even with a collar on they'll still latch onto the fence/feedbin....and they are quick to realise when it's taken off, and most will make the most of the opportunity to have a quick gulp.

    The jury is still out as to whether it may be an inherited trait, however I've seen nearly half a dozen progeny of a particular warmblood stallion here in WA that all do it, and did so from a weaning age (some within a couple of days of being born). He also did it. I do believe genetics come into it. Some horses, like people, just don't cope well with stress, and thus develop these "stable vices" while others just don't seem to worry, and just sit back and chill !!!

    Ciao. Kiley.

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