Ear Pinning Help?!?!

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Ear Pinning Help?!?!

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  • Horse pinning ears all the time
  • Why would a horse pin their ears and bit people

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    05-21-2010, 09:54 AM
Ear Pinning Help?!?!

I have a 6 year old quarter horse mare who I have had for about a year now. She has always had a problem with pinning her ears and being sometime aggressive in her manners. She has always been this way. I don't know what happened to her if anything when I didn't have her or if it is just a learned behavior to get what she wants without having to work for it. Last night I had the chiropractor work on her for the first time and she was pretty pissy about it for the first little bit, and then calmed down slightly. I hate that she does this because she is beautiful and the whole ear pinning is just annyoying. She has never hurt anyone but I wonder if she would? Any ideas on how to help this?
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    05-21-2010, 09:58 AM
Sounds like she's a typical horse. When they're being pissy, they pin their ears.

It's not something you can train out of them; it's part of how they communicate with others.

If she hasn't escalated to aggressive behaviour, I wouldn't worry about it.
    05-21-2010, 09:58 AM
Yep, she will. Ice is in a permanent state of ear pinning, and he bit the chiropractor, my BO, another girl..... the chiropractor and the girl didn't leave marks they were just "warning" bites but he did a pretty good one on the BO.

Definitely work on respect. She's pissy because she doesn't want you in her space.
    05-21-2010, 10:07 AM
Sam, please don't generalize and say the horse will become aggressive because she's pinning her ears.

If your horse is biting other people, then it's due to lack of respect and training on your part. Doesn't mean the OP's horse is going to become aggressive.

Some horses pin their ears a lot, but that's all they do.

My horses can pin their ears but they're not allowed to bite, kick, or otherwise threaten someone, me included.

If you're the obvious leader and don't condone such behaviour, your animals won't do it if they're trained properly and respect you.
    05-21-2010, 10:27 AM
Green Broke
I have a 21 year old gelding that pretty much walks around the paddock with his ears pinned non stop. He knows better than to be aggressive towards me in any way. I think he's just a grumpy old fart.

I also work with a pony mare who, I can honestly say, spends more times with her ears pinned than she does with them any other way. She has never bitten, kicked or otherwise showed aggression.
    05-21-2010, 10:28 AM
Super Moderator
I agree with Speed Racer.

At my camp there's a little pony mare that will stand there and pin her ears like crazy. She does bite/kick at people she sees as easily intimidated but she won't bite or kick you as long as she feels like you're in charge. It's just her personality. She's just a very business-like mare and she doesn't like not working, therefore she lets you know with her ears. I actually prefer that she pins her ears so much. I've been around horses that gave no warning, they'd just kick/bite out of nowhere, that's scary. But with pissy horses you can see where they're coming from WAY before they do anything about it, so you can protect yourself, if necessary, before you're "in danger." :)

I wouldn't worry about it unless she actually starts biting/kicking (I think we've covered what to do if she does start biting/kicking). I mean, I might not let little kids around her just because they can't get out of the way quickly enough if she decides they're wusses, but other than that I wouldn't worry.
    05-21-2010, 10:45 AM
Well, I guess that this is not really something that you can change. Some horses pin their ears because they are just pissed. But they don't try to bite or kick. But from what I saw the majority of them pin their ears as a warning. They will tend to be aggressive with you if they have their ears pined. I think that you should be careful with her and be prepared. If she becomes aggressive you should punish her right away.
I deal with a lot of horses that pin their ears and the majority will not limit themselves at it, they will try to bite or kick if you decide to ignore their warnings. Just one of them will just pin his ears and not bite. So I think that the problem can degenerate in something more serious. Just my opinion.
    05-21-2010, 11:14 AM
If a horses ears are pinned, they can become aggressive, better?

She even says she's aggressive already, which I'm assuming means she is pushy on the ground. If the OP comes and says otherwise, my mistake. But pushy and pissy to me equals the possibility for escalation, I.e. Hurting someone.
    05-21-2010, 11:20 AM
The problem is not her ears. A horse has never hurt anyone with thier ears. Correct the "aggressive" behaviour when needed but if all she does is pin her ears then leave her alone. Keep an eye on her and stay safe from her mouth and feet.
    05-21-2010, 11:33 AM
I think ear pinning is more of a respect (or possibly health) issue. One of my geldings always had his ears pinned--until he started to learn to respect humans more. He kicked out at someone once and bucked a few times--nobody ever got hurt, but it was scary.

His ears are almost always forwards now--because we have developed a relationship with a designated leader (me) he doesn't have to try to "get to the top" anymore. Horses need leaders, and if you don't step up to be that leader, they will.

Watch a herd of horses--you will rarely, if ever, see a submissive horse in an established herd put it's ears back aggressively to the dominant horse unless they are testing the dominant horse's authority. Your horse is testing you--be a leader.

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