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Thread: Bad Habit

  1. #1

    Bad Habit

    Moses is a three year old, who has a history of mal-nutrition when he was a foal. He has a really bad habit of pawing when he is eating his grain. Not grass or hay just the grain. It takes a few minutes for me to distract him from the pawing. Normally, me talking to him and rubbing his neck soothes him enough to quit. I'm just curious to know if anyone has ever heard of a psychological reason for this. If I should be concerned? Mainly my concern is that he will hurt his knee, because of the cement wall, it's an old cow barn, so his feeder is where the cows use to feed.

  2. #2

    Bad Habit

    I think the obvious solution is to move his feeder - it is normal for horses to paw at the ground (mine do it all the time - some 'primal instinct' that they seem to enjoy). Why not just move the feeder so that when he 'paws' he is pawing dirt or hay - if you can't do this perhaps you can feed him in a 'tub' that is on the floor in the 'middle' of the stall so he can't hurt his knee on the wall. In their natural state horses eat with their heads down - not the way we feed them in a 'hanging' bucket.

  3. #3
    What your doing sounds good, talking to him and calming him. Sounds like he might have had to forage for his feed before and so the pawing developed, like digging for food through ice or snow, or dirty bedding. You can tie up a rubber mat, or move his bucket. But breaking him of the habit will indeed take time and trust. Horses are habitual, so it will take constint reminder until the habit breaks, think of it as obsevsive compulsive, and in alot of cases its better not to break it, cause it will open a whole new set of problems. In my opinion I would put up a mat or move his bucket, those would be easiest, unless he is hurting himself, then break the habit.

  4. #4

    Bad Habit

    :oops: Thank you for your input, I should of figured that one out for myself. I kinda thought it was part of his growing up on the "range". At least that is my understanding. He is such an easy going guy, that I'm afraid he was pushed around alot. Luckily he hasn't hurt himself, but there's always the first time. Again, Thank you for your input and not calling me an idiot to my face. :lol:

  5. #5
    Your not an idiot, it was a very valid question, having raised a horse that was beaten and abused I have delt with alot of compulsive problems and have seen people cause them in horses and I cring every time. Its great you were willing to seek out the advise you recieved and I hope everything goes well, have fun with your new horse.

  6. #6
    Pawing when eating is actually VERY normal behavior. If you are worried about his knees, then maybe attach one of those rubber stall mats to the wall in front of him! That should help...



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