Why is pawing bad? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 42 Old 07-11-2019, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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Why is pawing bad?

Can someone explain to me why pawing is considered bad, and something that you would reprimand a horse for? I can see it being potentially undesirable in two situations: (1) horse lives in a stall with a dirt floor and consistently paws the same spot, making a hole, or (2) you are riding and the horse paws in such a way that suggests he wants to roll. Outside of these two scenarios, I really canít understand it. Well, OK, I guess (3) Teddy paws his feed, spills it, and then gets upset because he doesnít have any more food. So I have worked with him to not do this.

But, generally, it seems like one of those things that horse people are always telling you not to let the horse do. In my experience, they are usually pawing because they are bored or anxious, and itís like a fidget for a person, in other words not really harmful. Thoughts?
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post #2 of 42 Old 07-11-2019, 02:06 PM
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I will be interested to see other's responses as I have wondered this too, but this is what I have gathered so far:

When we were preparing for a trail ride on Saturday (one of my instructors is riding Dreama on trails getting her back into work and seeing how she does while I ride one of their horses), they didn't bother to correct her for pawing while they were away from her prepping the other horses for the ride. I could tell it was a bit of an annoyance but not something they were surprised by and he didn't ask her to stop until he came back to put her tack on.

But if she's being led or one of us is standing with her and she starts to paw, they correct her. For me personally right now it's a safety thing... There are some days she's doing a lot better and really paying attention and respecting my personal space and will stand very relaxed. But some days she is really full of energy or anxious or something has her distracted and she will paw even if I just have her on a lead standing next to me. She's not kicking, but there's still enough power behind that foot that it could hurt to be caught by it. So I definitely don't want her to be pawing around while I'm trying to work with her because she can be antsy and I don't want her to accidentally hit me while she's pawing.

My aunt has a gelding who constantly stands in his stall and beats his foot against the wall and I've often wondered if someone had worked with him more and corrected him for pawing if he would still do this. In his case though a lot of it is sheer boredom, as no one really gets him out and works with him as much as he needs and he is really sadly bored and is the kind of horse who loves human attention. He was supposed to be her fiance's horse but her fiance never really rides him.
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post #3 of 42 Old 07-11-2019, 02:08 PM
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It can be destructive. Unsafe to the handler. Irritating.... I'd say you have to look at the why before you make any judgement about the behavior and whether it "NEEDS" to be controlled or eradicated as they paw for several reasons. It could be learned. They could be "investigating" or it is an emotional release for them. If it isn't wasting food, damaging them, damaging property, damaging you or driving you crazy then let them have at it. If it does any of those mentioned then finding out the why can help you change the behavior or get them to stop.
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post #4 of 42 Old 07-11-2019, 02:21 PM
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As said, it can be dangerous if that hoof drags down your leg and it can damage the hoof too if theyíre constantly scraping it on rough ground.
You can stop it in a horse youíre dealing with - holding, riding, tied up, but Iíve never had much luck controlling it in the horses that do it when they want to come in, go out, be fed etc.
Iíve got one. I think Iíve tried most things and no real result.
If Iím in shouting distance sheíll stop when I yell at her but if she canít see or hear me, she does it.

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post #5 of 42 Old 07-11-2019, 02:29 PM
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Destructive to the environment and their feet if they paw on concrete. They can ram their knees into stuff, get their feet caught in stuff. I had my old horse tied up when he was young. Started pawing really big and stuck his foot through a halter someone hung up nearby. I've rescued horses who stuck their foot in hay nets, fences, ect.

They aren't controlling themselves when they are pawing and I want my horses to learn how to stand and chill.

It's also really annoying. Drives me crazy. Shod horse pawing on concrete? Gah.
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post #6 of 42 Old 07-11-2019, 02:32 PM
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I have a pawer. Yes, she paws when she's bored or anxious or wants to be fed first, or petted. She has broken concrete, broken tail lights and latches off the trailer, caught her hoof in a hay net (also in a trailer) and hung there for who knows how long. After that I went with on of those sewn lattice type hay bags. She tore it to pieces, first trip. She bangs on stall walls, the side of the trailer, gates, fences, water tanks. She prefers to paw for maximal noise. Much of the time she is doing it because she just wants me to pay attention to her -- and even throwing brushes at her and cursing is, you know, attention.

Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG. Just imagine a lot more bangs than that.

I can't really tie her and leave her anywhere, because of the pawing. I have no idea how to stop it.

That's why people don't like pawing.

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post #7 of 42 Old 07-11-2019, 02:35 PM
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Thatís why itís such a weird habit Avna, because our one will stop doing it if you bring her in or take her out of the stable and tie her up.

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post #8 of 42 Old 07-11-2019, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaydee View Post
Thatís why itís such a weird habit Avna, because our one will stop doing it if you bring her in or take her out of the stable and tie her up.
Yeah, she never paws unless she thinks she can get something out of it, I can see that much. The trouble is, she's right. She's like a whiny kid who's whiny because there's a payoff for whining -- at least enough of the time that it's worthwhile to keep trying it.
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post #9 of 42 Old 07-11-2019, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avna View Post
Yeah, she never paws unless she thinks she can get something out of it, I can see that much. The trouble is, she's right. She's like a whiny kid who's whiny because there's a payoff for whining -- at least enough of the time that it's worthwhile to keep trying it.
Thatís how it works. Trouble is, they live in the moment so even if we ignore her she keeps doing it and she has no concept that sheís maybe been doing it for half an hour. All she seems to know is that at some point weíre going to get her in and thereís a good chance sheíll still be standing there pawing when we do.
I try to take her by surprise and rush out to get her in when sheís quietly grazing! I donít think sheís made any connection out of it.
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post #10 of 42 Old 07-11-2019, 02:45 PM
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They could accidentally clip you, or if they are banging they could get sore feet.
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