Pawing at the ground why?

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Pawing at the ground why?

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  • Horse pawing at the ground
  • Mare paws

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    01-09-2009, 06:09 PM
Question Pawing at the ground why?

My friend's 3 year old mare begins pawing at the ground when she sees me getting her food ready and continues to do this whilst she is eating, has anybody got any idea as to why she is doing this? One of the other horses who she is fed with does this sometimes but not always the way Belle does, I have never see her doing it when she is not being fed....strange!
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    01-10-2009, 02:16 AM
This is in the wrong category but, horses paw as part of nature. Horses have a natural instinct to paw through snow and at the ground to find/investigate food. They associate this behavior with food, and soon becomes a habit that is unbreakable. I have a mare that paws like crazy when I show up at the barn, she continues until her food is set in front of her and then she is happy after that. She could quickly dig a hole to China if she wanted to!
Sometimes it is a sign of digestive problems, but usually is accompanied by ear pinning, bad attitude, or other gestures to signify a problem. If she acts healthy other than the pawing and it seems like nothing is bothering her, then I would not worry about it because, trust me, there is no stopping a horse once it is in the habit of pawing! My little mares leg moves a million mile an hour, it is actually kinda funny how fast she can dig the ground. They will also learn it odd each other if the others do not already do it. My mare has taught my stallion to do it to, though he is much quieter and slower about it, he does it now too! It is almost like an impatient kind of thing.
    01-10-2009, 08:09 PM
Yeh, sorry it was in the wrong category, im still finding my way around the site and am having some difficulty finding how to post, thanks for your reply all the same, it makes a lot of sense and I think it is purely habit now as she is healthy otherwise, she will probably teach my baby how to do it as well, as long as it is nothing to worry about, I don't mind.

Thanks again
    01-10-2009, 11:18 PM
No problems! Good luck with the baby!
    01-10-2009, 11:20 PM
For the record, the habit is breakable.

I've done it.
    01-11-2009, 05:51 PM
Horses don't only paw over food either. Mine did it because he was impatient with the situation. He'd paw when tied if he's not crazy about he location/situation at first, He'd paw in the trailer too but only did it until we began driving, then stopped doing it.

Twister would quit if you told him no and re-assured him that he was fine and meant to stay put.

It's a learned behavior to get attention from humans.
    01-12-2009, 11:46 PM
It is almost like an impatient kind of thing.
I agree, it is basically an inpatience issue. That is why I said that in my first post. I do not mind my mare doing it and I have been unable to break the habit with her. It does not bother me that she does it as she only does it when I am going to feed. I do not even notice it half of the time when she does do it. I guess it comes down to how annoying the habit is to the owner and on how worried you get about it.

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