box walking foal

wickedwilfred

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2 August 2010
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I have a 5 month old foal who was born late and kept at the stud farm for his first 2 months while his legs strengthened. He had to be put on box rest during this time and since he has been home, we have noticed he is box walking round in circles. At first we thought it was just the mare being messy and it took us a while to see that it was actually the foal who was walking round her in circles - the mare does not box walk. This only happens at night when they come into the stable/barn area. The stable door is left open, so they can go outside if they wish and he shows no signs of doing it in the barn or when he is out in the field during the day. He does not appear stressed and usually snatches a mouthful of hay as he goes past the Haybar when he is doing it. Does anyone have any methods to stop him doing this ?
 

TheMule

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I'm afraid that’s most likely his vice now. We have one that had to come in on box rest as a foal and she started to box walk. She's now 11 and still box walks. She lives out, it's just easier all round.
 

AFB

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I'm afraid that’s most likely his vice now. We have one that had to come in on box rest as a foal and she started to box walk. She's now 11 and still box walks. She lives out, it's just easier all round.
This is interesting - does it become that ingrained that quickly? To my naive mind I would think chuck him out 24/7 for X amount of time and he would forget it!
 

TheMule

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This is interesting - does it become that ingrained that quickly? To my naive mind I would think chuck him out 24/7 for X amount of time and he would forget it!
Sadly doesn’t seem to work like that! Ours went from not doing it to doing it and that was that
 

wickedwilfred

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2 August 2010
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In the barn tonight and will see what happens. Never say never. I had a mare with a paralysed face a couple of years ago and advice on this forum said after 6 weeks it will be permanent, but she got better over 6 months with Shiatsu and massage treatment.
 

Bellaboo18

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I don't think anyone can say that's it he's now a confirmed box walker, vices can be overcome but you have to make changes. If he's back in the barn tonight what would make you think anything will change?

You need to break the habit.
 
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He does not appear stressed and usually snatches a mouthful of hay as he goes past the Haybar when he is doing it. Does anyone have any methods to stop him doing this ?
It is a stereotypic behaviour. The fact that he does not appear to be stressed is irrelevant. I agree with everyone else, block access to the stable. If his Dam goes in there, he will follow even though it is a psychologically stressful place for him to be. He then responds to that stress by boxwalking.

A good example of stereotyped behaviour is pacing. This term is used to describe an animal walking in a distinct, unchanging pattern within its cage. The walking can range in speed from slow and deliberate to very quick trotting. It may involve only a few circuits or it may be prolonged, lasting several minutes. The locomotion may be combined with other actions, such as a head toss at the corners of the cage, or the animal rearing onto its hind feet at some point in the circuit. The pattern and appearance of the stereotype differs from animal to animal. Stereotypes often go through stages of development. In the early stages, the behaviour may be easily interrupted by a loud noise or other stimulus. At later stages, such interruption is difficult or impossible. At this stage, stimuli can even escalate performance of the behaviour. The animal can appear to be in a trance-like state, disconnected or detached from its surroundings.1
https://awionline.org/content/towar... an abnormal,in which this behaviour develops.
 
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