New ear pinning
 
 

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New ear pinning

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  • Horse ear pinning
  • Horse pins ears while being ridden

 
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    11-01-2010, 05:56 PM
  #1
Weanling
New ear pinning

We've had our mare about 2 1/2 years now and she has recently (past couple of months) started to pin her ears at feeding time. This is totally new behavior as she has never done anything like this before. There are two things that have changed about the same time that the pinning started. First is that one of the two neighbor horses passed away and was buried in their pasture. Our horse lives alone but the two pastures share a fence and the horse that passed was particularly fond of our horse. She would hang out at the fence and visit our horse daily. The surviving horse is becoming attached to our mare now, but she isn't crazy about him - as a matter of fact she charged the fence at him the other day at feeding time. Our horse is not the least bit herd bound and never seemed too concerned with the neighbors - never fussed if they were gone for the day and didn't care when they returned so we didn't think that she'd be effected by the event but maybe she was.

Second, we have had some schedule changes and we haven't been riding as much. Now with winter coming I doubt we will be able to ride like we were over the summer. When we do ride (1-2x per week lately) she is great and seems to enjoy it. We will also try and take her out for a walk at least once a week as well. We do ground work 2-3x per week and she is great - follows and responds well and is happy about it.

Could this behavior be cause by either or both of the above changes?
     
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    11-02-2010, 08:04 AM
  #2
Banned
I assume your horse is not fed close to the neighbor horse that your horse does not like?

I would more guess it is something like ulcers than the two things you describe.
     
    11-02-2010, 09:34 AM
  #3
Weanling
Thanks for the reply.

Ulcers? That never dawned on me. I'm assuming that a vet is the only way to find out. How are ulcers treated?

Our horse is fed lunch in her pasture and the other horse is on the other side of the fence - the other day it was about 50 ft away or so.
     
    11-02-2010, 02:33 PM
  #4
Banned
I wouldn't say ulcers just because she's pinning her ears at feeding time. Some horses get food aggressive...
There are many other symtoms for ulcers, like losing body condition, being grumpy while groomed and or ridden, etc..... If your horse is simply pinning her ears while you are feeding, she is just lacking a little respect for you. You can't stop her from pinning her ears, but just make sure she doesn't take any steps towards you or anything else "aggressive" like that.
She can pin her ears all day as long as she respects your space, and that you say when she gets her food.

I also think your second change of not riding as much ties in.... you aren't handling her as much and she thinks she is more alpha.
     
    11-02-2010, 09:43 PM
  #5
Foal
I have a TB mare and she is like this as well at feeding time. I know its not ulcers because it started after we treated her and got rid of ulcers ( $7000 later !!! )

She does it to people and horses - she does it when I have her out and feeding her - and she does it in her stall. But - she doesnt do it to me ! I think its a respect thing - she is very much her mamas girl and she just doesnt like interation with other people or horses. She wont let anyone else ride her and throws a fit if someone attempts to pet her while she is in her space. But I can go into her stall and mess with her - I can take her food from her etc and she has no issue with it.

I spent 4 months with her before I even rode her - I am bigger and she was a rescue and skinny when I got her so I had to wait to get her built up a bit before I even got on her. Now we have a really good bond - I would say spend more time building or remembering the relationship you two have - I know that it worked for me
     
    11-02-2010, 10:37 PM
  #6
Trained
Was she more dominant than her buddy that died? Maybe she is looking for someone new to dominate? Though I don't know why it would only be at feeding time. Any chance a wild animal has had access to her feeding area and she if protective of it for that reason?

I'd be inclined to see it as bad behavior and for whatever reason, it needs to stop. While you can't technically stop the ear pinning, you can certainly chatise the behavior and I would. The minute my moody mare does anything slightly agressive I am all over her. She never gets her ears pinned because I'm at her before she gets that far. Technically the ear pinning isn't dangerous - it's not a hoof or teeth coming at you, but it's a lead up and I wouldn't tolerate it.
     

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