How to deal with Pawing - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 01-21-2010, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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How to deal with Pawing

One of my new horses bad habits is pawing. he does it while tied and i am not working on him, whether it be for 5 seconds or 2 minutes, as well when i first get on him to go. when i mount we are usally in a hay field and he wants to eat, but i wont let him and then he starts. after we begin to move he wont paw agian. this is my first horse and i really dont know anything about them, other than how to physicaly take care of their needs. he is recovering from an injury now and i will be finding a trainer to help him and train me as soon as hes 100%, but i feel this is something that i should be able to take care of. if i am near him i will give him a swat and say no real firmly, he will stop for a minute or two, but he still continues to do it after. what should i be doing to get him to stop? this habit reminds me of a real impatient child and drives me nuts. I do stay calm when I correct him, so he wont know that I am annoyed.
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post #2 of 14 Old 01-21-2010, 11:04 PM
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Your on the right track I believe, a jurk on the lead rope and a firm NO! Should do the trick. Other whys, you could use a bit of reverse physiology, I'd be more inclined to be like.. 'you wanna move, right im gonna make you move'. Get him moving in circles around you, back him up a couple of times.. make him want to stand still. After a few back ups and circles go back and retie him, and continue what you were doing, whether it be brushing etc. If he does it again repeat. And when he's standing still give him plenty of prase wether it be a pat or a treat. Good luck and have fun on the wonderful journey horses can take you on.

~He knows when you're happy~He knows when you're comfortable~He knows when you're confident~And he always knows when you have carrots.~Author Unknown
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post #3 of 14 Old 01-21-2010, 11:12 PM
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Smacking him won't do any good, as you've already seen. Is his pawing slow or tense and quick? What do his eyes look like? Is he blinking and his eyes are soft, or are they "starring" and harder?
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post #4 of 14 Old 01-21-2010, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
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i guess i dont smack him, i "poke" him to redirect his attention. while tied he his pawing is slower and he realxed, basically being bored. while on him he paws with more power and determination, and its a chore to get him to go forward. he seems "annoyed" at me when he does it while backed.
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post #5 of 14 Old 01-21-2010, 11:32 PM
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Ok, here is what I would do. Before you tie him anywhere I would work with him on the ground. Get him listening to you, set up some puzzles for him to solve, basically get his brain engaged. He's probably a horse who has a very busy mind so it's very boring and hard for him to stand still....unless he's already been mentally exercised that day.

While riding, it sounds like it's out of frustration. Does your tack fit? Are you soft when you ride or do you have a tendency to bounce? Is he in any kind of pain?
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post #6 of 14 Old 01-21-2010, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
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how do i get his brain engaged and what kind of "puzzels" will help.
and he is recovering from an injury right now so its a very slow walk(slower than hand walking) and i am just riding him bareback with a halter. he should be recovered 100% by now but i an giving him about 8 more weeks before i do any more than a slow bareback walk. and hes very smooth so there is no bounce. i "think" i am balanced as i am riding in snowpants so its REALLY slippery and i stay on no problem even when he gets antsy with me.
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post #7 of 14 Old 01-21-2010, 11:53 PM
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A little trick my grandmother uses on pawing or impatient horses involves a tree and a rope. Tie the horse to the tree, preferrably above the head. Leave the horse tied for an hour or two, or until the pawing stops. She used to leave horses that hated being apart from the others tied to a tree for hours and hours on end. Usually by the end of the day the problem was solved. :)
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post #8 of 14 Old 01-22-2010, 01:16 AM
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What I would do is tie him up securely, let him paw, and paw, and paw, and paw. Ignore him, but keep an eye on him. The second he stops pawing - gives up - go over and untie him and turn him back in his pasture or put him back in his stall or give him a treat. That way he figures out that when he stopped pawing, he was rewarded.

So basically what kassierae said.
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post #9 of 14 Old 01-22-2010, 06:58 AM
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My fella isn't exactly a hardcore paw-er, mainly three to five taps at a time once in a blue moon if he's tired of waiting for me to finish something. If he's tied up and I'm not right next to him, I ignore, and then praise when he stops. His main trigger for it is at dinnertime when I bring him in from the pasture to eat, and his stomach thinks it takes too long for me to re-do the gate-latch. I'll basically ignore that, too, and take as long as he's willing to paw to finish with the gate. My being done plus a verbal "Good boy" is his reward for stopping the behavior. If he paws while I'm halfway in front of him, in reach of the foot, I'll swat him on the chest and back him up, then try whatever I was doing again. I've seen saddlehorses with their forelegs ripped up because a draft half-stepped-on, half-pawed-on them, and I have no desire to go through the same recovery process myself.

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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post #10 of 14 Old 01-22-2010, 07:03 AM
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Gidji used to paw out of impatience. I wouldn't take it from him. If I was near him, I used a 'No' and I raised my hand at him. If I wasn't near him when he was tied up, I'd say a very firm 'No' and if I had a pine cone I'd throw that at his shoulder. Now before, you go saying thats cruel, its the exact same as a slap, and I never throw hard enough.

Essentially, you need to pin-point why your horse is pawing and discipline accordinly (sp?). You know your horse, so only you know what he responds to.
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