Pinning Ears - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 13 Old 07-30-2012, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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Pinning Ears

Hahah . . . I hate to sound like I have a lot of problems with my foals (I really don't, lol.) . . . Things are just popping up and I need some advice from you guys. My older foal is four months old and for a couple of weeks he has been super sweet: coming to stand by me in the pasture, putting his nose in my hand for attention, waiting nicely as I give him his grain, etc. A few days ago, he started pinning his ears back at me. At first I just thought it was because I had moved them to a new pasture and he was still adjusting. It continued on and off all day, esp. When I was in their run-in shed. Then, I thought maybe something had scared him in there and he was just being defensive. Now, he pins his ears at me in that pasture 80% of the time, whether I am giving him a scratch, moving their hay around or walking around him.When we are in the roundpen or when we are grooming, he is great, his ears to the side but not pinned. Back in the pasture, one second he has them pricked at me, the next they are pinned. He never threatens to bite or kick. Slapping makes it worse and chasing him off seems to have no affect. I have no clue what is wrong, is he just testing the boundaries? Should I just ignore him? Advice would be great. Thanks.
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-30-2012, 10:14 AM
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Why are you smacking him for pinning his ears, if he's not doing anything aggressive?

He's just being pissy, but as long as he's not biting, kicking, or rearing at you a simple verbal command should be sufficient.

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post #3 of 13 Old 07-30-2012, 10:17 AM Thread Starter
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*shrug* I guess at first I thought he was threatening me or trying to be aggressive, so I was trying to discourage it.
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post #4 of 13 Old 07-30-2012, 10:41 AM
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As long as he isnt rearing his head back, snaking his head at you, threatening to nip/bite, or spinning his butt towards you, I'd say just ignore it. My mare is a notorious ear pinner too. She'll do it even when she's really not mad, and I'm convinced that she doesnt mean it half the time. She's just being a pissy mare.

For me, as long as they arent threatening me or doing something naughty, they can make all of the pissy faces at me that they want. They just can't act on it.

Just an idea though. Maybe you need to do some desensatizing/respect exercises with him? He might be feeling uncomfortable with you, and acting out on it by pinning his ears and acting cranky.

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post #5 of 13 Old 07-31-2012, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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He was crowding me today, so I was just pushing him back, asking him to give me space. He promptly pinned his ears and this time, he swung his hindquarters at me. *sigh* :/
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post #6 of 13 Old 07-31-2012, 11:28 PM
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Have you taught him to yield his hindquarters? At a couple days old I taught my filly to yield her hindquarter and her forequarters. She so far seems to respect my space. If you haven't already I would try to teach him to yield. Just a thought. Good luck! Foals are a lot more work then people think.
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post #7 of 13 Old 08-01-2012, 01:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speed Racer View Post
Why are you smacking him for pinning his ears, if he's not doing anything aggressive?

He's just being pissy, but as long as he's not biting, kicking, or rearing at you a simple verbal command should be sufficient.
What? Just my opinion, but don't ever allow a horse to pin it's ears at you without serious reprimand. Doesn't matter if that horse is worth $20 or $20 million. Do not allow a horse to threaten you. Anything less will lead to disastrous results. I realize this is a foal and it's not going to be on a lead rope. Doesn't mean you can't do something. Slap it with something. This "aww he's just a baby" advice is going to get you hurt. He's telling you he's going to eat yer lunch. Listen and act now before he weighs 1100

Last edited by AmazinCaucasian; 08-01-2012 at 01:10 AM.
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post #8 of 13 Old 08-01-2012, 08:48 AM
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He is testing his boundaries and trying to dominate you in the field. Walk into the field with a thin willow about 4' long. The tip makes great whooshy shounds. As soon as he pins his ears, make him move. He's tellling you "try and make me". Some light tickles with the willow should get him moving, even if at the walk. Allow him to walk off, then approach. If he pins his ears again, get him moving. A dominant horse would do this to teach him some manners. Colts should remain with their mothers for 6 months as she is the teacher of what is acceptable in a social (herd) situation. This is where you have to take over. Keep moving him as long as he pins his ears. If he turns rump just touching a back leg with the willow may startle him enough that he scoots away. If not, repeat only stamp and wave your other arm so show him you are bigger and badder than him.
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post #9 of 13 Old 08-01-2012, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Saddlebag View Post
He is testing his boundaries and trying to dominate you in the field. Walk into the field with a thin willow about 4' long. The tip makes great whooshy shounds. As soon as he pins his ears, make him move. He's tellling you "try and make me". Some light tickles with the willow should get him moving, even if at the walk. Allow him to walk off, then approach. If he pins his ears again, get him moving. A dominant horse would do this to teach him some manners. Colts should remain with their mothers for 6 months as she is the teacher of what is acceptable in a social (herd) situation. This is where you have to take over. Keep moving him as long as he pins his ears. If he turns rump just touching a back leg with the willow may startle him enough that he scoots away. If not, repeat only stamp and wave your other arm so show him you are bigger and badder than him.
Yup - that is the age where they start getting independent - just like a human teenager. It is really nothing to worry about...I pretty much ignore it and if they get out of line with a little cowkick or nip I correct it. They grow out of that stage pretty quickly...
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post #10 of 13 Old 08-02-2012, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips guys. I sure hopes he grows out of it soon like you said Faceman because somedays he is good (like yesterday) and somedays I feel like nothing is going right (like today). He is worth never giving up on tho.
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