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Discussion on Excessive Pawing when weanling is tied

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Tina L Farmer (Tfarmer)
Posted on Friday, Aug 9, 2002 - 12:13 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

My weanling leads and ties well without pulling back. His problem is PAWING when he's left tied. He paws like he's practicing for upper level dressage movements - almost like he's striking at the wall. He's fine as long as you're right there with him but as soon as you leave he starts. If I stand close enough to disipline him I can keep him from pawing but as soon as I'm out of sight he starts up again. He is 3 months old and weaned just 5 days ago so I may just need to back off a little but I plan to show him halter so he really needs to learn to stand tied for periods of time. I've thought about hobbling him but he's so young I'm not sure about that. Any input on safe hobbling methods or other fixes would be appreciated. Thanks in Advance!
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Kathleen Keating (Keating)
Posted on Friday, Aug 9, 2002 - 1:31 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

In my experience (which admittedly is not a lot), the WORST thing to do is to return to the colt every time he paws. He wants you there, and if he finds that pawing brings you back, then that's what he'll do.

With the one pawing horse we had, we rewarded him (just a pat and a kind word, occasionally a treat) for ANY time standing quietly, and ignored the pawing. If he pawed and then stopped even just to change legs, we quickly acknowledged that pause and rewarded it. It took very little time to change the behaviour.

Of course, all this is assuming that there is no physical discomfort or other real reason for the pawing.

Kathleen
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Christine C. Mills in NC (Chrism)
Posted on Friday, Aug 9, 2002 - 12:15 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'm not sure I'd expect a weanling to stand tied by himself or even trust him not to fidget and get in big trouble. That is a tall order for one so young and just weaned. How is he tied? A single rope or cross ties? In either case, I'd not risk him leaving alone, unsupervised for any time.

Since he doesn't paw when you are there, or stops when you correct him, staying there is one way to fade the pawing before it is ingrained. A classic way to train a habit out is to take away the circumstance that causes it.

When young, my dog used to steal things out of the kitchen trash can. We just put it up on the counter for a few months, taking away the opportunity while we worked on training the dog in many ways and letting him grow up. Once we had a good verbal "ah-ah" which he knew to stop what he was doing or thinking about doing, we could put the can back and teach him to leave it.

A very young horse's survival nature is to not want to be alone - security and safety is with others.

Good luck with the halter training. At least they don't test the babies for standing while tied while people go out of sight, LOL.

Cheers.
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Kathleen Keating (Keating)
Posted on Friday, Aug 9, 2002 - 12:27 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi
When I posted my reply above I wasn't thinking about leaving a weanling tied, unsupervised, for any length of time. I had in mind a scenario where the colt is tied and you walk momentarily out of sight to fetch a grooming tool, etc.
I don't disagree with what Christine says here at all.

Kathleen
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Tina L Farmer (Tfarmer)
Posted on Friday, Aug 9, 2002 - 2:11 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for all the good advice. I agree that he is a little young to leave tied for any period, I'd just like to be able to tie him (in the stall to a tie ring - never crosstied at this age!) while I fill his water buckets and pick his stall. This involves walking around the corner where he can't see me which is when he gets upset. I'd never leave a foal tied unless I was within at least earshot the entire time. I'll give him a month or so to grow more independent before I worry too much about this, in the mean time I'll probably just do as has been recommended and avoid leaving him alone while tied. Thanks again and I'd welcome any other advice :-)
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