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free_sprtd 01-07-2008 06:43 PM

Pawing....becoming a large habit
So since Thunder has been boarded (3 weeks now), he is starting to develop some habits that I don't know if they are bad or what, but don't know how to fix it.

He is pawing the heck out of the ground! If he is standing to be groomed....he paws practically the whole time. Same in the arena... anytime we are working, he is pawing...usually as soon as we stop. I was told its a sign he is bored, but even when we change it up, or he has his 'free time' he just stands there and paws!

He's also getting very lippy. I've noticed that his mouth isnt as soft as it used to's like is muzzle is one big strong muscle. He doesn't have a soft nose like some of the other horses, but it's prob because it's smaller :). His lip is so strong! He is constantly grabbing at stuff with it lol.

I don't know exactly what they do with him at the boarding facility, but I have noticed he is growing up a little more, so maybe this is just him going through baby stages. any advice is helpful thanks :)

tim 01-07-2008 06:50 PM

Tie chains to its pasterns.

Juuuust kidding. With mine we moved his food to the ground. He still paws at shows. So I guess if someone gives good advice I'll be listening too.

free_sprtd 01-07-2008 06:54 PM

lol thanks tim! ya the chains sound greeeeeeeeeaaat jk 8)

ya he used to paw his hay would get trashed all over the yard and the stall. Now he is getting it twice a day and doesnt really have a chance to stomp all over it.

Kyani 01-07-2008 06:54 PM

How old is he?
There are many reasons for behaviour like this - stress or just plain bad habits being the main ones. He could just be going through a 'naughty' stage in life, in which he's testing boundaries and needs to be reminded what's right.
If you are sure he is happy with his lot and there's no specific reason for it and he's just being naughty (because it IS a bad habit), you'd better nip it in the bud. The longer you let it carry on the harder it will be to stop. A sharp 'no' or similar noise is good to start with, followed by a short sharp smack if that doesn't work.
A pony we used to have on the yard was terrible for pawing if no one was paying any attention to her - it was just brattishness, she'd paw for a while, staring at you, and when you made any move towards her or spoke to her she's stop and look innocent, starting again as soon as you looked away. We tried everything, even totally ignoring her to the point where she was driving us crazy, until one day the YO lost his temper and threw a brush at the wall next to her. It made a huge bang and she jumped about 3 feet in the air, but she never pawed for attention again.
I'm not saying that's the way to deal with it, but sometimes they need to be switly reminded what isn't acceptable.

Spirithorse 01-07-2008 06:55 PM

The main thing here is to not get mad or frustrated by the behavior. It's not bad behavior at all.

If you cross tie him while you groom, try NOT doing that. Everytime he paws back him up several steps. When you back him up, try to keep your feet still. After you back him, stop and wait until he licks and chews. If he paws again, back him up some more. This goes for while in the arena as well. You don't have to be fast or aggressive about it, but let your point be known. I take this behavior is boredom and then a dominant streak. After you back him and he understands this game (because that's what this is to him) he will look at you with both ears full forward, at attention. Bring him in to you and rub him for awhile then continue whatever you were doing.

For the lippy behavior, if he wants to put things in his mouth DO NOT punish him for it! He's showing you how curious he is and if you punish that curiosity you will damage the relationship. Say he bites at his lead rope. All you do is say "Let me help you!" Push the rope further up into his mouth so it becomes uncomfortable. NOT painful, just uncomfortable. If he starts to be lippy with you rub his nose VERY VIGORUSLY with your hands. FInger nails are a good idea :wink: When he goes to move away stop rubbing. Then go back and gently stroke his nose to make sure he didn't get unconfident.

Vidaloco 01-07-2008 07:02 PM

We had another thread about this awhile ago. I'll see if I can find it and edit it in.
I have a yearling filly who does this when she eats. I started not feeding her until she quit pawing. Then she started doing it while eating. :roll: I don't know if its proper or not or if I'm making her neurotic but I started standing by her when she ate with a broom handle. I would pet and tell her what a good girl she is until she pawed then I would tap her in the shin and go SSHHH. Now she hardly does it and if she does I go SSHHH and she stops.

free_sprtd 01-07-2008 07:02 PM

thanks that is what I needed to hear! Ya it is pure brattiness and boredom I think. He doesnt do it much in the stall, more so when just standing. I was told by a friend that trains to tap around his leg or chest while clicking or giving firm voice command. The back up thing works well...Ive used that in other situations. He is almost 2 and yes.....VER CURIOUS. That is one of his main qualities hehe :)

I'll try your advice tomorrow and see if it helps. Is this something that should show change quickly as long as I am repetetive?

Spirithorse 01-07-2008 07:06 PM

If you are consistant and fair about it, yes you will see improvement quickly.

Vidaloco 01-07-2008 07:11 PM

My filly is at that "almost 2 stage" too. Its a good time to nip bad habits in the bud. I have seen trainers take a pawing horse tie them short to a post and leave them for a few hours. Not sure what that is suppose to teach, just seems a lazy way to address it.

free_sprtd 01-07-2008 07:33 PM

oh goodness...i would never do that :oops:

I will try the correcting him is a developing habit, so I think I can catch it! ill let the cleaning crew know too in case they catch him. :D

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