Horse Attitudes: Ears Indicate Mood

When I want to ride, like I’ve said in another blog, I want to know what kind of mood my mare is in. Is she eager, happy to see me or is she mopey? Maybe

One of Poppy's oblivious moments.
One of Poppy’s oblivious moments.

she has an I don’t care attitude. There’s been a time when every sound makes her perk up and look around. Her big brown eyes are bright and alert. Her ears are pointed towards what has caught her attention. Other times she seems oblivious to her surroundings and ignores me.

Be on the Alert:

When she’s eating she will lay her ears back flat at the other horses. They can’t get to her food. They are in their pens and can only look over the board railings separating the paddocks. It doesn’t matter to Poppy, she doesn’t know they can’t get her grain, she only knows they are looking, watching, threatening and her ears flatten as she warns them to stay away.

I have learned to be alert to her moods not only to be safe, but to keep her safe and hold her attention. She has plenty of time to be a “horse” so to speak when she’s out in the pasture. When she’s with me, her attention should be on me and what we are trying to accomplish for the day.

The last few days I have been starting our time in the covered arena. Her outside area is wet and snowy and the covered area is a little small. Also that is where she has chosen for her bathroom. Don’t know why she has to go there. It’s right in front of the gate so guess who gets to walk through and around it? If anyone has a thought on how to get your horse to do their business out away from the gate I’d like to know.

Rolling in the Dirt:

Anyway when I get her to the arena she wants to lie down and roll, so I let her. I don’t know if other horse people would agree to let a horse roll when they are with their handler, but I see no harm in it. Let me know what you think.

When she’s done rolling, up she comes and I have the thought that it felt so good to roll in the dirt, she has to do a little prance which consist of a trot then head down and going into a couple of bucks and kicks. It looks to me like she is feeling the joy of the dirt all over her and being free to be doing what horses like to do. At the end of her performance she looks at me like she’s saying, “Okay, what do we do now?”

Ears forward and wondering what's up ahead.
Ears forward and wondering what’s up ahead.

Ground Work:

I take the lead and put her into a walk and trot, change directions and do the same. Sometimes she’s a little over zealous and trots fast and won’t whoa when I ask. I have to get a little more persistent and get her attention because this behavior is being disrespectful. We change directions, back and forth until she’s paying attention.
I’m not sure if she’s acting this way because it’s winter and we are not riding as much or not. She spends her days in a paddock area or pasture. Not much grass must make it all kind of boring. I’m thinking when I can be there with her, it’s something different and she’s a bit impatient to take advantage of that time.

I did put the saddle on and rode around the arena and outside too. We were both happy. I could feel her excitement in being outdoors.

Afterwards there was oats and hay for her and a sense of satisfaction for me. We had had a good session together and enforced the basics of keeping her feet moving forward, back and side steps.

She's giving a warning with her ears laid back.
She’s giving a warning with her ears laid back.

Thanks for stopping by my hitching rail for a time. Leave a comment or ask a question. I’ll do my best to answer.

4 thoughts on “Horse Attitudes: Ears Indicate Mood

  1. Hi Judy! I LOVE this blog! When I was a little girl, we had a plow horse, “Prince”. When it wasn’t planting season, we got to ride Prince. Gotta say, the older he got the less he liked it. When I was around 10-ish, he ran away with me and my folks never let me get on a horse again. I still remember the smell … the sense of freedom … and the oneness I had when riding Prince. Maybe it is just all a big childhood memory, but I truly do miss my horse. Finding your site has brought back so many pleasant memories and I can’t thank you enough for that. God Bless! ~Cathy

    1. Hi Cathy,
      Thank you so much for your kind words and for checking out my site. Makes me feel good to bring back a childhood memory. Sorry Prince ran away with you. Hope sometime you can ride another horse.
      It’s the smell and sense of freedom and oneness that gets me too, every time I’m out riding my horse.
      Thank you again, blessings, Judy

    1. Hi Harry,
      Thanks so much for stopping by. I’m just trying to share some horse knowledge and hope to learn more myself. Glad you enjoyed the posts. I had fun writing them.
      Judy

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