Horse pawing - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 02-20-2020, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Georgia
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Horse pawing

I recently moved barns and for the 2nd time in 3 months my mare has pulled a shoe from pawing on the fence and getting her shoe caught on the wire.....the farm has the large open squared wire which I hate, but not much I can do about it. She picked it up from my gelding I think, he has always pawed at feeding time for attention but he doesn’t wear shoes so as annoying as it is I haven’t worked with him on it. I had a trainer help me once with him in a trailer when he would start pawing but I was able to stand with him inside and correct him on his foot when he would start to paw. Fixing the mare at the fence is more of an issue to me- I could stand there and wait for her to paw but my problems there are that for one, it’s usually when I’m not standing there with her and more importantly I don’t want to take a chance of an even more serious problem if she really got her foot caught worse just for the sake of correcting it; I feel like I’ve actually been lucky that so far only a shoe gets pulled off, as much as I hate it. The first time I was able to see her paw, get her foot inside the wire square, then struggle to get herself out. It was awful because she was in a small area of the paddock and being the low horse on the totem pole the others were heading her way so I was really afraid I was going to be looking at some serious damage, but the shoe came off and she got out of her situation. She has been in a different pasture since that and no one(apparently) saw her do it...... although I am quite sure she only paws for attention when it’s feeding time. The horses are fed in the pasture( no barn) by the property owners, although they didn’t know when it happened(weird to me because how else would they have known to tell me...... pastures are swamped with rainfall and an off shoe is not likely to be seen..... but that’s a whole different thread entirely)
Anyway any suggestions to dealing with this, and just to add she must wear shoes to be ridden. Thanks in advance for help!
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post #2 of 11 Old 02-20-2020, 12:24 PM
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First, I would question the farrier as to why the shoes can be pulled off. Too much shoe in the back? Too small of nails for the holes? Infrequent shoeing?

Second, when I had a horse needing special shoes hanging out the back r/t a prior bad farrier causing issues, I would put bell boots on in the pasture, and duct tape the Velcro attachment so he wouldn't pull his shoes. Fortunately I only had to do this for about 6 months until his hooves had grown out enough.

He was nicknamed Spaceman for his silver moonboots
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post #3 of 11 Old 02-20-2020, 09:24 PM
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Such a type of fencing has the potential for a true disaster. It would be deal breaker for me.
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post #4 of 11 Old 02-20-2020, 09:38 PM
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Although a pest she is pawing more the part she is getting her hoof through the large openings in the first place would distress me...
The chance for serious injury is great.
As for the shoe coming loose...thank your farrier for that.
If she did not lose the shoe she would be injured and hurt, possibly badly.
The fact you did not mention her ripping hunks of her hoof off with the shoe loss to me is a plus the shoe can release and not hang the mare up nor is it destroying her hoof making it impossible to replace and hold a shoe again.
I don't know if it would help but would hoof boots help as they cover the sole of a hoof entirely and depending upon style some secure pretty high above the coronet band...
I know another expense, but something like this also might make her hoof to large to fit through that fence opening...
Best scenario would be a new fence strung made for horses, but unrealistic since you not own the place...
You're going to need to find a way around the situation or move the horse before she gets hurt...
I wish you good luck cause this is a nasty habit to break one started and dedicated to do by the animal.
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post #5 of 11 Old 02-20-2020, 09:46 PM
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I have woven wire fence with fairly big squares. Horses can put a hoof through it.

I have hot wire running along the top and a second strand half way down. It's on extend connectors. So wire is about 6 to seven inches away from woven wire.

Horses stay away from fence so no chance of hooking a shod foot on wire.
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post #6 of 11 Old 02-20-2020, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Georgia
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Yup, like I mentioned I absolutely hate the large wire for horses......I had my reservations about it when I first toured the barn, but at the time the pastures were large and the horses were let into stalls to eat, so I relied on the hope that they would spend time grazing away from the fence and not have a reason to paw. At my old barn it was four board fencing and the only pawing was done at a gate before being let in to eat- didn’t like it and would scold but again, my guys are extremely impatient at feeding time(not bullies or aggressive but will paw at a barrier when food is being fixed) and as much as I have always hated pawing it was never as much as a problem as it is now. The horses have been moved away from the “barn” pasture to give it a rest, so that leaves them in any other pasture with only the square wire fencing (with a board on the top all the way around) between them and whoever is coming their way, which signals meal time. Even if I insisted the horses be taken out or back to the barn to be fed(not really realistic because the barn is quite a ways from these other pastures) that fencing will always be there and they will both always paw at it at some point.

Next time I go out there I’m going to take a better look at some of the pastures, there are quite a few of them. The one they are in now has multiple gates, but not really where they stand to hang out when they see people coming. I can’t expect the property owners to redo their fencing but I’m thinking there are other pastures where any pawing would more than likely be done at a gate, which although I don’t like any pawing anywhere, it would pose less of a risk than pawing at the square wire fence. I think that since it’s happened again I might be able to request a certain pasture on the property or possibly get the owners to fix an area safer for my impatient equines. Thank you all for the helpful feedback!
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post #7 of 11 Old 02-21-2020, 01:06 PM
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I think a hot fence is a good thing to try you wouldn't need a whole lot, just in the area they normally paw. You can run it in a vertically aligned rectangle, high and low (or medium and low since your horses act on the bottom of the fenceline), on the inside of the existing fence instead of horizontally aligned like is usually seen, put out a bit from the fence as described above, so the horse hits the hot wire first and learns not to paw there. I did this for Thunder when he was just turning two, as he discovered that he was big and strong enough to lean on the gate and I didn't want to have to replace the darn thing. I rigged up a small hot fence on the gate itself and that was the end of that. Thunder was such a good boy and hated being reprimanded lol, even reprimanded by an inanimate object, so I was able to take it down about three days after I put it up and never had another issue. It was very cheap as I didn't need a whole lot of wire and a large power station.

-- Kai
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post #8 of 11 Old 02-21-2020, 01:48 PM
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Have you spoken to the barn/property owners about your concerns?
I get the feeling your horses are not the only ones in this pasture so doing right by all the boarders and their own private horses is also more the issue for the barn/land owners.
Yes, surely they know the pawing is happening by what you describe...
Have you asked them though if there is another location where it might be more suitable to pasture your horses knowing of their habit to paw and strike the fence with anticipation of feeding time?
If they are conscientious enough to rotate pasture and let the grass/area rest and recuperate this may be why the other fields are empty now too...

You're going to need to ask about options to try anything as this is their place and property not yours...
Sounds though that the issue is your horses are anxious and aggressive with no patience when it concerns matter where they are pawing is going to occur.
To me, since stopping the pawing is not possible as you approach their need to figure out fencing options or how to protect them from clipping shoes and slipping a hoof through being a boarder not the land owner.
Something you know already...
I offer you good luck and please let us know what you can figure out and work with the owners to do.

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post #9 of 11 Old 02-23-2020, 08:32 PM
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Location: Taranaki New Zealand.
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Over here we call that hurricane wire fencing and you never, never see it at horse riding establishments as it is a recipe for disaster!

Are any other horse owners concerned with the type of fencing? Would it be worth getting together with the barn owner to discuss either out rigger electric wires on the top of the fence or kick planks on the bottom? Would you consider looking into some of the expense for such a thing yourself? Having electric outriggers on horse fences pays for itself in the long term any way as they are the only real solution to horses that like to lean on fences because obviously the grass is greener - saves so much damage.
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post #10 of 11 Old 03-30-2020, 09:59 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Georgia
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Well since I first posted that it has happened again, she pawed, shoe off. Third time in four months. Horse ok. I hate that fencing and figured it was time to go. But drama ensued because I am paid up until August because due to having my board credit some construction work my husbands company did to their house. I know, bad idea, but at the time it sounded great. This was before the shoes coming off.
So I put it out there that I was going to have to move my horses, would pull the shoes off until my 30 day notice period so there'd be no more pulled shoes. People not happy, as I knew would probably happen- nothing was locked in stone so I have the right to leave but stick them with 4 mos owed to the company if I’m not boarding there. Sure, I feel bad, the guy had to take a pay cut due to present circumstances and would lose my two spots as payment.
So my farrier is coming out today to remove the remaining shoe so she’ll be barefoot. She’s extremely tender footed so my only alternative is to buy boots for her so I can still ride. Property owner has agreed to put up a hot wire running down near the lower part of the fence, which some of you have done. I get the idea, but could that cause another problem, can a horse paw and get caught in the electric fence?
I’m so stressed over this, I’m a very non confrontational person and feel bad about leaving them since I’m their way of paying for their construction work. Wife says they would never have agreed to that if they thought I was leaving.... well, I didn’t think I was leaving back then either.

My guilty side is saying pull the shoes and just stay there until the loan is paid up. I can ride my gelding but would not ride the mare unless I learn about fitting her for boots. I am willing to try that to keep peace and good vibes, but I’m a bit uncomfortable with the hot wire idea even though I understand it. It could break the pawing habit, I just worry about it backfiring.
So the plot has thickened and this is what I’m up against. Looking for advice on what I should do. The people are very nice but this is becoming awkward; I’ve temporarily managed some bad feelings by telling them I’ll talk to my farrier about my situation to see about staying. At least they’ll see that I’m trying to help their situation ( but the day I’m paid up the horses are on the trailer outta there)
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