Just wanted to ask about foot stomping while eating. My boy just started doing this in the 3 rd week I've had him. He's in a paddock and he is hard fed from a plastic tub. Is he stomping his foot to warn me to leave him alone or is it an excitement thing. I used to groom him when eating, but now I'm thinking I should leave him alone. Should I feed and leave him to it or should I not be worried. I'm a bit scared the stomp will turn to a kick or a bite if I misinterpret what he's wanting.
Many horses get very excited at feed time and stomp or paw while eating, and it has nothing to do with you. If your horse swings its head to nip at you or raises a foot like a kick warning, then you've got a problem you need to correct.
For us, feeding time is their time to eat in peace, and we use the time to give them a quick look over for cuts, scrapes, etc. even though they don't mind being groomed while eating.
You can't just look at one thing to tell what a horse is telling you. You have to look at any and all of the other things they are doing. How are his ears? Are they pinned or up? Is his tail swishing, like swatting a fly? Either of those could mean that he is irritated and wants to be left alone.
If he is just stomping or pawing, he may be excited or is trying to find a comfortable position to eat. Is he lame in that leg? Are his hooves uneven or need a trim?
It is possible that he is testing you. Horses in a new setting or herd know that they are at the bottom of the pecking order. After some time, be it a couple weeks or a couple months, they will start to test the waters if the can move up, whether it is with new horses or new owners. This doesn't only show up at feeding time but may start there. Has he changed in behavior while leading or riding?
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If the pan is at about waist height it should be on the ground. It's hard for a horse to paw when it's head is down and the ground is the natural height for a horse to eat.
I've seen many horses stomping whilst eating from a bowl. It's an excitement thing - or a habitual thing. Often the bowl gets tipped over - which is an annoying thing :-)
body/ear language will give you more insight on his intentions
if he is stomping and pinning his ears -- run him off his feed aggressively --- it's your food and you are allowing him to have it but only if he minds his manners
His shoes were taken off a week I ago so I do know he is a little tender at the moment. I took great notice in his ears this morning and they were back but I think he was more listening to me brush his mane. I have noticed though if I walk away he doesn't do it too much at all. I think I'll give him more space in future thanks for all the tips though everyone, this site is so invaluable to all us newbies!
Another thing that newbies don't know is that we LOVE pics (hint hint) LOL
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Did you say you are brushing while hes eating?
I also do this and discovered brushing different areas of my horse will cause him to stomp his foot as he would if a fly or bug was on this area. Thats the connection i made certain areas would get a stomp reaction every time haha.
Dont know if that helps at all, but just sprang to mind when i read the brushing thing.
Thanks I'll look at that as well
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