Pinning ears with food - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 Old 09-17-2011, 04:39 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Pinning ears with food

For some reason I just noticed or my mare just began pinning her ears when being fed. She usually eats with a group of horses, and when I feed I put it in their buckets and let them eat. I don't mingle at feeding time, b/c its a large herd and I don't want to get stomped if an alpha decides she's going to make a mini stampede, lol....

But while my friend is helping me train her, we moved her to her farm so we can work on both our horses. So my friend always gets a pan of grain when they come to the fence when called and gives them handfuls of grain for coming when called. She told me Suki has been pinning her ears when she gives her grain and she's doesnt like it, and was going to give her an attitude adjustment.

I noticed her doing it after she pointed it out, but I thought it might be her being irritated by the other horses instead.

So to test this theory I got a few apples, and walked with her out of the herd.... I didnt get far but she kept pinning her ears down. She didnt do anything aggressive towards me, but before I could learn anything more, the other horses were looking for the apples, and so it could still be them.

I tried to get her father down into the feild, but before I got her far enough away (she was just following, I didnt have her on a lead), I turned around to see her bucking and running up the hill like a goober. Its cooler here now (around degrees), so Im assuming she's being frisky bc there are no flies and nice and cool. She wasnt close enough for me to even worry about being hurt. So that doesnt concern me, but she is ALSO in heat, and she is such a butt when she is in.

I'm going to take her out by herself with a lead tomorrow, so she doesnt decide to cut our test off short. But I wanted to be able to check the thread in the morning before I left for work. My question is: If I get her away and she is still pinning her ears with no other hroses around, does that mean she is pinning her ears at me (which is what I would assume) and how do I get her to stop? Im not against smacking (except on the face), but not sure when to discipline her for this, or what other factors or behavior to look for....

Why would she be doing this too? Im either thinking she's moody b/c of her heat, or just bc she's being protective of her food. I wanna nip this in the bud, bc if she is developing food aggressiveness I want to stop it at ear pinning!
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post #2 of 4 Old 09-17-2011, 05:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheatermay View Post
My question is: If I get her away and she is still pinning her ears with no other hroses around, does that mean she is pinning her ears at me (which is what I would assume) and how do I get her to stop? Im not against smacking (except on the face), but not sure when to discipline her for this, or what other factors or behavior to look for....

Why would she be doing this too? Im either thinking she's moody b/c of her heat, or just bc she's being protective of her food. I wanna nip this in the bud, bc if she is developing food aggressiveness I want to stop it at ear pinning!
It's not uncommon for horses to 'want their space' at feed time. Others will certainly disagree with me, but unless it is an 'aggressive' ear pinning, I don't do anything more than give them a tap and a 'hey' or 'quit' (i.e. "Duh...It's me, you don't need to protect your food"). Anything more aggressive, e.g. Raising a back leg, nipping, etc and I would certainly give them a smack and run them off.

On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
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post #3 of 4 Old 09-17-2011, 06:13 AM Thread Starter
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Im almost positive that its the other horses, but I wont know until I get her away. But there is two yearlings there that she loves pushing around right now (she is bottom of herd at our farm), so she loves it, lol....

The pony and other mare usually boss her around, but she's been super b7#chy and fighting back since her cycle started again, lol....

I think she might have a huge ego right now with them too, b/c they are scared of her when before she only had one other horse below her in the pecking order.
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post #4 of 4 Old 09-17-2011, 08:54 AM
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Walking into a group of horses, ie more than one, with food can turn into a dangerous situation. I really recommend her bringing food to the fence to stop. This often creates food aggressive horses turning on the one with the food as they become too competitive for it. A friend wouldn't take my advise about carrying her lunge whip into the field as she distributed feed. I did explain about horses sqabbling and forgetting to respect her. One day her horse turned rump and hooves just missed said friend's face. When she called, I advised her to whack the horse on the rump as hard as she could with the whip the next time her mare turned her rump. Horse did, she got whacked, and became much more respectful and friend always carried her whip after that. If she should pin her ears when on the lead with you then it definitely is a respect issue, but in the pasture she is doing as horses do in their hierarchy.

Last edited by Saddlebag; 09-17-2011 at 08:57 AM.
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