Pinning ears while riding - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 08-05-2011, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Pinning ears while riding

Savanna has an attitude. When I'm lunging her and I ask her to pick up a gait, she pins her ears back and swings her head. Never kicks at me, she always does it, but she throws a 'tude. In the saddle, it's the same thing. She is straight up saying, "I don't want to." She doesn't buck, has no tension, isn't in pain... is she just doing this because she has an attitude problem? Is there a way to stop it?

Also, backing up is getting to be frustrating. First we worked on going around the arena and me over-exaggerating my seat aids (leaning back and really pushing my seat down), and getting her to stop. After that, we added backing up. She stops crooked and backs crooked too. She also backs very, very, slowly, and with a lot of resistance. It's hit and miss - sometimes she'll back with her back round and in a straight line, and other times she'll back with her nose in the air and feet going everywhere.


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post #2 of 16 Old 08-05-2011, 10:07 PM
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Just work her through that. My mare does it sometime (when she's in heat or just in bad mood), but I just ignore and put more leg on. Does she do it all ride long or just in the beginning? If just in beginning I wonder if she's cold-backed and need more time/different exercises to relax and warm up that back.

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post #3 of 16 Old 08-05-2011, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kitten_Val View Post
Just work her through that. My mare does it sometime (when she's in heat or just in bad mood), but I just ignore and put more leg on. Does she do it all ride long or just in the beginning? If just in beginning I wonder if she's cold-backed and need more time/different exercises to relax and warm up that back.
The whole time. It's only at faster gaits. You know, sometimes it's worse than other times. She may very well be in heat. I never thought of it because she doesn't show (in any other way) when she's in! No squirting or anything. So maybe she's just "sensitive" Thanks!


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post #4 of 16 Old 08-05-2011, 10:23 PM
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The whole time. It's only at faster gaits. You know, sometimes it's worse than other times. She may very well be in heat. I never thought of it because she doesn't show (in any other way) when she's in! No squirting or anything. So maybe she's just "sensitive" Thanks!
I wonder if she's not very balanced (especially with the rider on) so somewhat "scared" to go to faster gates. Could you may be post some videos and/or pics?

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post #5 of 16 Old 08-05-2011, 10:24 PM
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Equilove,

As for the backing, I don't lean way back and push harder into the back. Reason being if you want the horse to round up and step back correctly, you must give him a place to round into. I was taught to rock my pelvis a bit FORWARD ( to lift my seatbones off a bit ) and kind of think of sucking the horse up into the space under my seat, leaning the upper body back a little ,but visualizing MYSELF doint the backing. It's kind of like if you want a horse to go foward, you dont lean too far forward, you kind of sit back ans scoop the horse in front of your leg and push it to go forward. The oppostie for backing. YOu lean forward a wee bit and open your seat (buttocks area) and scoop the horse in behind you , and lift your own chest and think "backward" yourself.
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post #6 of 16 Old 08-05-2011, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kitten_Val View Post
I wonder if she's not very balanced (especially with the rider on) so somewhat "scared" to go to faster gates. Could you may be post some videos and/or pics?
That could be true, however it doesn't explain why she does it in the roundpen with no saddle OR rider, not even a lunge line, when I'm just asking her to trot? I don't canter her in a tiny round pen.

I don't really have anyone to take photos or videos, but I will try my best to get some asap! I think it would really help with explaining what I'm talking about.

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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
Equilove,

As for the backing, I don't lean way back and push harder into the back. Reason being if you want the horse to round up and step back correctly, you must give him a place to round into. I was taught to rock my pelvis a bit FORWARD ( to lift my seatbones off a bit ) and kind of think of sucking the horse up into the space under my seat, leaning the upper body back a little ,but visualizing MYSELF doint the backing. It's kind of like if you want a horse to go foward, you dont lean too far forward, you kind of sit back ans scoop the horse in front of your leg and push it to go forward. The oppostie for backing. YOu lean forward a wee bit and open your seat (buttocks area) and scoop the horse in behind you , and lift your own chest and think "backward" yourself.
I don't sit deep like that when I ask her to back - it's only when I'm stopping her (I want her to feel my seat change and anticipate the stop). BUT - what you mentioned could also apply to stopping, right? I will try it tomorrow. Good advice! And it makes a lot of sense.


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post #7 of 16 Old 08-05-2011, 11:04 PM
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Another thought that came to me is that maybe if you work her in the round pen and you ask her to give you a canter, watch her and ask yourself if she is giving you an honest canter or just barely toeing the line? I mean, try asking for a real cuttin' loose canter. So much that she leaps out with real committment and there is no holding back. When she does , then don't chase her a second more. Let her coast. YOu want a real honest, holding nothing back cnater and you might have to push her past the pinned ears and attitude. But once she busts loose, that's all you asked for , so let her coast down to whatever speed she wants, and after a bit aks, again.
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post #8 of 16 Old 08-05-2011, 11:21 PM
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From the situations you described my opinion is the horse needs a more assertive rider. Not an angry one, just someone who says ... this is what I want and I want it now.

Give the horse a que and then make sure the movement is done. If you ask more than once you are nagging the horse which annoys the animal.
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post #9 of 16 Old 08-06-2011, 01:28 AM
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My mare is exactly the same. The pinned ears, attitude, swinging head, resistance to stopping and backing up, lunge work you name it. They could be twins!

She always does what I ask when I ask (perhaps slightly more resistance when asking to slow down/stop), but the attitude is there. I've watched her in the paddock and she gives the same attitude to the mares higher up than her (she moves away but she makes it clear that she's not happy to).

I did find that teaching her cruise control helped a lot. We spent quite a while on it to make sure she got it but once she had, she's been a bit happier with her ears forward more than pinned. I think it helped because I didn't have to keep asking her to slow down and maintain a calm steady beat. (Perhaps eliminating the nagging?)

But she still does it sometimes, especially when I make her work in the lunge arena. I'm beginning to think its just her personality. So I just keep the same ask-tell-demand strategy and ignore her when she pulls her face (but make sure she does what I ask).
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post #10 of 16 Old 08-06-2011, 01:55 AM
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This might sound weird but I do it and it works!

When I ride my moms horse anytime you ask him for more speed and he doesn't want to and trys to hump up to buck or pins his ears back, I just talk to him and my mom does the same thing and we just talk him out of it in a stern voice and it works! Don't know if somebody trained him to respond to that or if he just does but it's worth a shot.

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