ear position. is this normal?

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ear position. is this normal?

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    12-15-2012, 09:57 PM
Question ear position. is this normal?

Everytime I am riding my horse he always has both of his ears tipped back at me. Not pinned but always facing me unless there is something in the forest. And when I cue him he flicks his ears back farther (not pins) and when we canter he also has his ears back like racehorses do when running. I guess to keep the wind out of his ears?

He does pin his ears quite alot at other horses so I have to ride in the back of the trail string so I think he's nervous about his rear end, because when he walks he gently swings his head back and forth and looks at me with his right eye. I've never seen a horse do this before so I don't know if its normal.
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    12-15-2012, 10:01 PM
He is listening to you.. sounds like a good horse, actually.. You know they are pinned, if they are touching the headstall, or halter.. If not, he is paying attention to you. :)
    12-15-2012, 10:03 PM
The ear position and trail lining is normal. My horse always keeps both ears back at me, not pinned, because he was voice-trained. As in, he would lope when somebody said "lope". No leg pressure at all. Alternatively, I also use clucks or clicks to get him moving. When I say one of the commands, he turns both ears back even further, then he does it and moves his ears forward, pricked, for a couple of seconds then they go back again, towards me, waiting for another cue. I have absolutely no clue about the head-swinging, though. Does he let you touch his rear end and feet?
    12-15-2012, 10:11 PM
Yeah he's very good at voice cues and I talk to him sometimes.

Yeah, he lets people handle his tail and feet and I can rub his flanks but he stiffens. He is so nervous when another horse is behind him, he pins his ears and kicks but I've been working with him and he doesnt do that so often but he still looks at me every other step. Maybe he's checking on me? Ill take a video of it next time I ride him.
    12-16-2012, 12:05 AM
Does he turn to smell your foot, or just turn his head enough to look at you?
    12-16-2012, 12:39 AM
My mare usually just puts one ear back to listen to me and the other is ahead.....she also doesn't like others behind her but she will allow it, I just smack her on the neck and tell her to mind her own business LOL usually she likes to doddle at the back....
    12-16-2012, 01:03 AM
No, he doesnt sniff my foot or really bend his neck, he just glances back at me constantly.

And yea I give him a good whack on the neck when he tries to kick or pin his ears.
    12-16-2012, 01:08 AM
For kicking the other horses while riding
Cranking the nose to my leg and popping his ass with a whip and a couple quick circles usually does the trick.
    12-16-2012, 01:44 AM
What you describe is not normal in my experience, at least for trail riding. When I have a horse that does that on the trail, something is bothering him/her. It might be a sore back, or another horse nearby that he doesn't like, or maybe (if I'm on a mare) she's coming in season and getting "mare-ish", or possibly the bridle isn't fitting properly. On the trail, what I want to see is the horse's ears constantly scanning around, listening, and when I say something I want to see at least one ear coming back to listen to me, then back to scanning around. That indicates the horse is calm and relaxed.

Riding in the arena during training and general workouts, is a bit different. Then the horse often has it's ears tuned to me, rather than the trail (ears on me, eyes on the road ahead). The horse's ears should be turned toward whatever it's paying attention to at the moment. Often it will have one ear tuned to me and the other listening or scanning for other things. If its ears are simply turned back, though, likely something is bothering it.

Make sure your saddle pad and cinch are clean, and that his back is smooth and healthy when saddling, and make sure your saddle isn't fitting badly. It could be you have a short-backed horse and the saddle bars are too long, or that you have a narrow-withered horse and the saddle gullet is hitting the withers, or something like that.

Then again, just like people, some horses are just plain ornery, and that could be the case with yours.
tinyliny, Palomine, Elana and 1 others like this.
    12-16-2012, 05:15 AM
^ This

Hehe. My Selena is just plane ornery. When I first started gaming her I'd ask her to run and she'd snake her head down and pin her ears and just blastoff. Same with cows. Ears flat back and tries to eat them.

ears, normal, pin

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