You've seen the image of the horse pawing or stomping the ground because he's eager to go. Is this really the case?
It can be, but there are several reasons horses may paw, stomp or dig:
1. Eagerness to get moving/frustration with having to stand still. Some horses seem to get bored very quickly if obliged to remain stationary.
2. Begging. Horses may paw or stomp in order to request a treat (This is not behavior that should be rewarded as they can damage their stall doing it). Some horses will invariably start pawing or stomping when feeding time approaches (and they know. To the minute).
3. Checking the ground in preparation for rolling. Horses will generally paw at the ground before rolling - they're making sure they're not about to lie down on something that might cut them.
4. Aggression - the paw or stomp may be threat behavior coming from an animal that feels insecure or in danger.