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His ears have changed...

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  • His ears have changed...

    I know, I know, it sounds really silly, but it's worrying me.

    Lately my 4yo OTTB has started holding his ears differently. He always used to hold them very pricked, as he's always been very interested in his surroundings. Last week I noticed he held the inside ear forward and the outside was flopping to the side as he cantered. And this week both ears have been floppy and to the side.
    Recently I've changed him into a kimblewick from a snaffle, although the mouthpiece has stayed the same. That's the only recent change I can think of.

    Reasons I've thought of so far:
    1) Boredom. I took him out of the paddock with my older horse, but put him just next door. He always fooled about and injured himself. I may put him back with the old man and see if it helps. Or give him a toy and see if he'll play with it.

    2) Something in his ears? I checked but couldn't find anything. He wasn't too chuffed with me searching in there though.

    3) Back/neck/poll pain? He isn't going any differently though - in fact he jumped beautifully today. I will be getting the chiro out next month to check.

    4) He's just growing up and less interested in everything around him.

    Any other thoughts? If you've read this far kudo's to you! Am I overreacting? Thanks in advance..

  • #2
    What do you mean "flopping"? Like he can't control it? Like he's soft and thinking more about you? Like Rocher floppy?
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


    • #3
      It sounds like he's becoming more relaxed.

      I like one ear back-it means he's listening to you and not tuning you out in favor of all the interesting, wonderful, and scary things all around him.


      • Original Poster

        JB - yes, quite like that. Maybe not as far to the sides, but definitely 'floppy' in that they're moving to his strides.

        Henry - I would have been inclined to say so too. All that has me alarmed is the huge change from pricked so far forward they almost touch in the middle, to sideways. Maybe he's just expressive like that. He is a little bit 'funny' in his little quirks, which I'm still learning, so it could be that's just one of them.


        • #5
          Ears forward has always signaled to me that horsie isn't paying attention/is thinking about spooking.

          I would say it sounds like your youngster is relaxing into his work!
          Reasons I'm crazy, #37: I went out shopping for a pony and came home with a 17hh OTTB
          ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~


          • Original Poster

            Thanks everyone - sometimes I just need people to tell me I'm being paranoid!


            • #7
              I agree - I'd take the floppy ears as a good thing. When my horse was 3 - ears pricked all the time. Now at a young 5, we get some flop from time to time, especially when he is in a really nice relaxed trot. I love it!!!


              • #8
                He's just relaxed and enjoying himself. My gelding flops all the time when I ride him, put someone on him that he doesn't know, and he doesn't do it. He is comfortable with you!


                • #9
                  Floppy ears are a good thing
                  "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch


                  • #10
                    I agree that in all likelihood, he's just relaxed.

                    The simple test is to make a "rucuss" in front of him and see if they prick forward like normal. If so, it's just a mellow pony thing.

                    I once had a horse who was kicked in the head and somehow it damaged the nerves (or something - I was a kid at the time so I don't know the veterinary details) in one of his ears and it flopped around forever after. It could swivel slightly, so he had some control, but it was always a "lazy" ear and bounced up and down when I rode. So, there can be medical reasons for it, but that doesn't sound like your case.