stomping back foot

ZELDAMELDA

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Oct 18, 2004
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I was on my horse yesterday, we were walking in the pasture because I'm just slowly getting used to him (I just had my first lesson with him). A mother with her 2 young kids were walking on the road heading for the mailbox. He stopped when I didn't tell him to and had his ears pricked forward at them. He started going back, meanwhile, I'm saying, 'ho' and he's going backwards and looked like he was going to rear up on me but I managed to calm him I guess because he stopped. Before he did all this, he was focused on the kids with his ears and started stomping his back foot. What does this mean?

When he starts stomping back foot, what should I do? Does it mean he's getting ready to freak out on me?
 

KarinUS

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May 20, 2001
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My horse will stomp his back foot for one of two reasons (there might be more but he wasn't able to tell me):

1) bugs. mainly ants. he tries to stomp to get them off his leg.

2) impatience
 

Tetra

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Stomping is used as more of a sign of apprehension than aggression. It sounds like your horse saw the children and was unsure about them, which is not uncommon. Many horses see children as these little short things that waddle around and move differently than grownups and are generally loud and unpredictable. Your horse was probably using the stomp to say "hey, I don't know about those things up there, I'm a little apprehensive and I don't want to wait around to see what happens, lets go!"
 

Harry Hobbes

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When he starts stomping back foot, what should I do? Does it mean he's getting ready to freak out on me?
Stomping a foot is often used by prey species as a warning to the remainder of the herd that (apparent) danger is near. It is instinctual behavior.

What you should do is yell "HELL-O" to the other people and get them to say something, and keep them talking, so that your horse can recognize them as humans.

Don't try to "control" your horse into standing its ground or advancing. Rather, just keep it facing the others (with ONE direct rein) and keep them talking; and he'll settle down when he recognizes them as humans.

We often encounter this when riding horses in the mountains, and encounter "horse-eating" hikers (with backpacks.)

Best regards,
Harry
 
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