Does Boredom Cause A Horse To Weave?

Stereotypies in horses are repetitive, compulsive behaviors that serve no purpose. Weaving and stall walking are classic stereotypes: weaving is when a horse shifts his weight from one foot to the other while swinging his head and neck to the left and right; a horse that walks compulsively up and down his stall is called a stall walker. Some horses compulsively walk fence lines when they’re turned out.

Though many people think these behaviors are caused by boredom from being alone, these actions are actually caused by stress over the horse’s forced solitude. Horses are herd animals—when they are by themselves, they don’t feel safe. A horse’s natural response is to move away from danger and weaving is an escape behavior:  the horse is walking in place. Horses tend to weave at their stall door, which is his escape route.

The easiest way to get a horse to stop weaving is to turn him out. If a horse must be kept in a stall, ensuring he can see other horses may help. The ability to see horses outside on a pasture may be more comforting than to see another horse in a stall.

A shatterproof mirror may also help him feel less alone in his stall. Though the reflection doesn’t smell or react like a horse, it may offer some comfort. Some people have had success with simply hanging posters of horses in the stall.

Read more at EQUUS magazine.

The post Does Boredom Cause A Horse To Weave? appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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