I just read an article by a top horseman in a top horse magazine. I follow this horseman a lot, and I like his style; he's even been on my radio show once before. In his latest article I read, I actually disagreed with him on one point: accepting ear pinning while being saddled. To me that is a clear sign from the horse that he is in pain, or has experienced pain in the past, but time has not resolved the issue or there is still enough pain to warrant the ear pinning.
His point in the article was to be patient with a horse that is a "grump". This particular horse pins his ears when you walk into his stall and when you saddle him.