Laying ears back.... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 02-16-2007, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Madisonville, Ky
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Laying ears back....

Yesterday, while my 4 yo gelding was eating, I approached him and he laid his ears back. They were touching his neck. I knew this was an aggressive body language. I ignored it, walked away, & walked back up to him. Same thing, again he laid his ears back. He never tried to snap at me. I did the same thing, petted him on the neck, walked away & walked back up to him.

He's never done this before. I was wondering why he would start this. He doesn't like me messing w/ his head while he's eating. Is this common? He is a stubborn horse & needs a firm hand but he's never been mean towards anybody. Likes to be petted & loved on. He's the first one to come to ya out in the field.

After 5-6 times of me walking away & walking back up to him, I just petted him on his neck, he stopped laying his ears back. When I feed him this morning, he didn't lay his ears back as aggressive as he did last nite.

What do you think?
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post #2 of 9 Old 02-16-2007, 08:25 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Adirondacks, NY
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Food aggression can be different from other types of aggression, that's why it can be so startling to see a "good boy" start acting up with it. You may want to spend time being near him while he eats. I'ts normal for most horses to not want to be bothered while they eat, and there's no reason to make him think you want to steal his food, so spend time near him while he eats. Let him know that your intentions are to be near HIM, not his food. The pats on the neck may help do that. Talk to him as you feed him and don't back right off, but stay there after you place his hay down. Look like you have better things to do than steal his hay, but don't be in his way as he tries to eat. He is focusing on his food, and that is fine, but you don't want him to focus on it so much that he's acting disrespectful. Your horse should always allow to approach him, eating or not.
You may also want to try leading him from his hay while he's eating, loop him around, then lead him back to it. This shows him that YOU are boss and though you need him to leave his hay for a moment, he can still come back to it when you're done with him. I only recommend doing this if he's not threatening you with naything more than laying his ears back. ...
Some horses are also good with just a firm "NO" when they act like this too. Ella likes to give a little back kick with one leg when I walk away from her after leaving her hay....I swiftly say "NO!" and push her butt and she stops.
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post #3 of 9 Old 02-17-2007, 03:47 AM
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I have an approximately 2 yr old sud colt(paint) and recently I noticed the same from Chief(my horses name) Also the other day I was out with him when I put his hay daown and he kept turning his side to me which I know is a defense of his cause he will turn his side to me and p/u whichever leg is closest to me like he is getting rdy to kick me if he needs to.But I do not let my slef get in the position to get kicked I always watch it.I think I am going to try what you said by leading him off for a bit then bringing him back...Any other advice?

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post #4 of 9 Old 02-17-2007, 02:56 PM
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Same thing with my filly(s)

When I brought my Friesian filly home she didn't mind me coming in and putting grain in her feeder while she was eating her hay. However, one day when she was eating leftovers in the middle of the barn she put her ears back and motioned her head towards me to BACK OFF.

I fixed that by reaching down and taking her halter in hand and we walked away from the hay. I walked her back and let her continue the eating fest. I then reached down and a fluffed the hay to see if I would get the same reaction and she accepted me fluffing the hay.

Now what I do every now and then I will pull her from eating and we will go for a walk around the barn and back to the hay. So she doesn't take that attitude when it comes to her food especially if a child comes along I would hate to think that she would hurt them just because they approached during her feeding fest.

My other Friesian filly is now learning this process too since she has that same fixation on food.
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-18-2007, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Madisonville, Ky
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Thanks you guys for all your advice. I will try leading Charlie away the next time he starts eating. I do admit, I spend more time w/ Chance than I do Charlie. Chance is mine & Charlie is my step-dtrs. I do pet & love on Charlie but most of the time my attention is focused on Chance. I will make sure I spend the same amount of time w/ each one, maybe a little bit more w/ Charlie since this has came up.
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post #6 of 9 Old 03-21-2007, 07:44 AM
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I have a 18 month old appy filly who learnt to put her ears flat back on her neck by another horse she was padocked with before I brought her. When this horse was fed it put its ear back all the time when approached, did nothing kicking no was just just her way. my filly still does it when she is fed...but she has respect, when I point for her to go away she she approach's her feed the ears are flat back but she is not aggresive.......and there are no other aggressive signs. once at her feed she is fine.....I can do anything to her groom, pick up feet, run around her, she couln't care, I can take her feed away the ears go back .....but nothing else.
I'm telling you this because it may be of no concern, it just might be something he has picked up...providing there are no other aggresive kicking, biting.
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post #7 of 9 Old 03-21-2007, 09:04 AM
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I have an andalusian filly(Lupita), she was two on the 3rd of march. She is usually very loving and will let me do anything with her, but one night I went into her stable to put up her night hay net, and when I was taking down her day net she kicked me right in the chest.

I was so shocked that she did that I couldn't even get out the stable. I was also very winded! lol. But that night everytime I went into the stable she was turning her bum on me and trying to kick me.

That was only like 3 weeks ago and now she's fine when she is eating. Even when she has her feet she picks up her head and stops eating while I fasten her rug. I can even walk behind her to do the back up.

Horses are just weird and unpredictable. They have mood swings just like people do. I just ignore them and wait for them to get over it.

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post #8 of 9 Old 03-22-2007, 06:10 AM
Green Broke
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Hi, I use to have a thoroughbred who use to do that at mealtimes. I think its a good idea what you are doing already, I use to hang around while he was feeding, talking to him and stroking him. Eventually he stopped doing it, when he realised I was going to pinch his food!
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post #9 of 9 Old 03-23-2007, 05:37 PM
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heyy might just be showing agression, and domniance, maybe he thinks your trying ot get his food and he doesn't like it, and thats the first thing what a horse is going to do when he doesnt want you near his food is lay his/ her ears back and snap.

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