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Just Dream Chasin (Andy) - 2014 sorrel AQHA gelding
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I need some advice. My horse will pin his ears when I groom him, put the saddle on, or blanket him. I groom and tack him in his stall for now (we are not allowed to use the wash rack, cross ties or tie rings because of COVID), and that's the only place he does it. He's even threatened to kick a couple of times. He doesn't do it when I adjust the saddle, tighten the cinch, lunging, or when I am riding him, so I can't figure out whether he is in pain or not. He is very sweet and gentle so it's upsetting and frustrating when he does this. Also, I'm not sure if this is relevant, but he has been going faster than usual when I ride him and I can't seem to slow him down. Could this entire situation be a lack of respect thing? Do I need to be doing more groundwork with him? Please give me all your input, I'm desperate!
 

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Hi, could well be pain, from ulcers or elsewise. Especially if he's changed his behaviour when ridden recently - the speeding up thing. Sounds like saddle pain could be one likely reason. You'd need a vet &/or bodyworker to check that out. A good bodyworker should also have a good idea about saddle fit & whether that's giving him any grief too.

Other reasons - he doesn't do it outside his stall, only inside - could be that he is tied & feels like he just has to submit, when he's outside, assuming you don't tie him in his stall(tho I definitely would do so, if he's threatened to kick). Or his stall is his 'happy place' & he feels you're being rude doing stuff to him in there, or, alternately, perhaps he's anxious about being stalled, so doing stuff to him there is just too much for him to cope with.

'Respect' is one of those terms which is ambiguous, has a different meaning for different people, but when talking the horse world & recent past, it seems that most people just use it to mean the horse 'should' do as they ask & deserves punishment if they aren't 'obedient'. I don't think it's particularly helpful to think in those sort of terms.
 
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