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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep. 15, 2006
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    North of the Frozen Tundra, but I can see it from my house.
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    1,298

    Default Weird vice.... She digs holes!

    After years of horse ownership, I have a horse with a new vice. My 4 yo Friesian filly digs holes. She has free choice hay, and is out 24/7 with companionship and a 3 sided lean to facing the south, and a few horse "toys". We have sandy soil here. She paws the ground, and in no time at all, creates craters that need to be filled daily; they can be 4 feet in diameter, and 2.5 feet deep. Never had this problem before..... The craters are not in the same place. She just goes to any spot and starts digging.

    Anyone else had this issue before? What did you do?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    36,087

    Default

    Does she then stand with front or hind feet in them? If so, I'd start looking hard for some physical issues.

    If she just digs and leaves them, well...
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep. 25, 2005
    Location
    The Land of the Frozen
    Posts
    13,787

    Default

    My mother's crazy hanoverians are excavaters. She used to joke that she was going to rent the one mare out to a bulldozing service. She and her brothers would dig holes big enough to park your car in (or your 1,400 chestnut hiney for an afternoon nap). Our soil is also sand and the best we could figure was that it was just plain fun.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 11, 2006
    Posts
    132

    Default

    well atleast she'll maintain nice trimmed feet for you!

    I had a digger once he would dig into the ground about a foot deep and 4 feet wide and then walk around it 2 or 3 times and lay in it. I guess it was just comfortable for him!
    Horses are amazing physicists, they know the exact angle, thrust, speed required to land you face first in the only pile of poop in the entire arena



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 11, 2008
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    3,852

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Juneberry View Post
    well atleast she'll maintain nice trimmed feet for you!

    I had a digger once he would dig into the ground about a foot deep and 4 feet wide and then walk around it 2 or 3 times and lay in it. I guess it was just comfortable for him!

    Are you sure it was a horse and not a great dane?
    Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
    Witherun Farm
    http://witherun-farm.blogspot.com/



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug. 9, 2007
    Posts
    9,173

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Auventera Two View Post
    My mother's crazy hanoverians are excavaters. She used to joke that she was going to rent the one mare out to a bulldozing service. She and her brothers would dig holes big enough to park your car in (or your 1,400 chestnut hiney for an afternoon nap). Our soil is also sand and the best we could figure was that it was just plain fun.
    We warmblood owners prefer to say "inquisitive" not "crazy."
    When we boarded at one barn for 2 1/'2 years, my wb dug a hole in one spot in the middle of one paddock, his usual paddock. He would dig a big deep hole, over 3 ft deep, and then he would sit on the side with his forehooves in the hole and look around. There were boards down there and he dug down to the boards. The BO always claimed there was nothing there, but there had to be something. I had to fill them in. He never dug in any other paddock and my tb mare did not dig there when she was in that paddock. Cloudy said there was buried treasure down there but I'm thinking maybe a body from the big war. I had the vet check him out, but nothing wrong.
    And after we moved, no more digging.
    He and my tb mare did have a couple of pretty deep "wallow" holes in the sand at another barn, but no deep holes like the one he did at the other barn.
    Last edited by cloudyandcallie; Apr. 4, 2009 at 09:34 AM. Reason: typos



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 27, 2001
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    228

    Default

    He could be digging for minerals in the dirt. But if he's not eating or licking the dirt, maybe he just wants a cool place to lie in?



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2006
    Posts
    524

    Default

    My horse does the same thing. I fill in the holes and he just digs them up again.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 11, 2000
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    1,947

    Default

    We have sandy soil and have also encountered this issue.

    I have given all kinds of mineral supplements... free choice and salt AND mineral blocks ... plus about everything imaginable that you could add to their feed...

    ... sometimes they lick and it does bother me. What else could they possibly be missing? They are on a mix of rolled oats, rice bran and pelleted feed, and get *3/4 BALE* grass mix hay EACH per day. They are not needing any groceries, that's for certain! These are horses in work, not idle, BTW.

    FWIW - I also tried them on QUITT. It *DID* stop the wood chewing, so at least we have one issue licked

    Magnum
    "If you don't know where you're going, you'll end up somewhere else."



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug. 1, 2003
    Location
    Georgia.
    Posts
    2,370

    Default

    My TB digs holes too. I think he does it when he's bored or he's feeling good but doen't want to run and play. We have sandy soil in some areas too. I think the sandy soil is easy for them to dig in but no idea why!!!

    Of course one thought for my horse is he will dig a hole then it fills with water when it rains. Then I think he figures it's a great place to go play in his 'horse' made pond. He loves pawing puddles and rolling in them as well. So what's better than a deep hole of water....



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 9, 2007
    Posts
    997

    Default

    Grrrr.....my mare does this too!!!! Her current hole is about 2' deep and maybe 2' wide. WHAT GIVES???????? It's weird - it's just behind her brother's stall window. She stands with her feet at the edge of the hole and her head at the window - ALL DAY - and sulks because he's been on "stall rest".

    She did it last summer, too, in a different spot.

    I don't know what the hell she's digging for. Maybe she's looking for a way to China????? Sure beats living a nice life with a mom who CARES about her and takes care of her, hehehe.

    I do notice that when her butt is in work she spends more time dozing and laying down (basking in the sun) than digging.....Get her butt to WORK!
    Sarah in New Hampshire
    My Blog - Adventures in Eventing



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug. 1, 2006
    Posts
    363

    Default

    my old boss's giant dumblood used to dig holes in his paddock. no more than a foot or two deep, but WIDE (5+ feet). We used to joke that the aliens were helping him dig, because that horse could produce a wicked big hole in almost no time.

    Never did anything with the holes once he was finished digging, odd duck that one
    Times and traditions in the horse world shift and change, much of the old grandeur has been lost; But for one brief shining moment, there was a gigantic shocking pink d**** in the Hunterdon tack room.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan. 27, 2007
    Posts
    285

    Default

    Appears like the horses know something we don't....maybe the end of the world is coming.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 22, 2007
    Location
    Port Charlotte, FL
    Posts
    3,447

    Default

    We raised a paint filly that was an "excavator" digging a huge hole in the exact same spot on a daily basis. This behavior began when she was about a year old. If we didn't fill in the hole after a few days, I needed to get the tractor out and use the bucket and blade to fill all the soil back in or wear myself out with hours of hand shoveling.

    Coincidently she begin digging at about the time her younger brother was weaned and seemed to loose interest in the "project" about the same time as we sold him. I'm guessing that she was planning to bury him as he was quite a nuisance to her. Once little brother was gone from the farm she stopped digging that hole.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul. 23, 2001
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,963

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CDNJumperGirl View Post
    my old boss's giant dumblood used to dig holes in his paddock. no more than a foot or two deep, but WIDE (5+ feet). We used to joke that the aliens were helping him dig, because that horse could produce a wicked big hole in almost no time.

    Never did anything with the holes once he was finished digging, odd duck that one
    Can we retire this term??? It's really condescending and utterly unnecessary . . .

    And, yes, I have a warmblood mare who paws in her stall. When I put mat over the part by the door where she pawed, she started pawing in a new spot. Her pawing significantly reduced when I started giving her flower essences for anxiety (similar to Resuce Remedy) and also when I started her on ulcer meds. She does not dig holes in her pasture, however.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 11, 2006
    Posts
    132

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Trevelyan96 View Post
    Are you sure it was a horse and not a great dane?
    Yep totally sure! funniest horse ever!
    Horses are amazing physicists, they know the exact angle, thrust, speed required to land you face first in the only pile of poop in the entire arena



  17. #17
    Join Date
    May. 17, 2008
    Location
    south
    Posts
    619

    Default Holes

    Several of my young horses will dig huge holes when they are cold,hot, or the weather changes big time. They seem to outgrow this as they are put into work.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2004
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    3,192

    Default

    My mare doesn't dig in her paddock, but get her anywhere near a creek, and you will have a pond within 2 hours...

    She climbs into the creek, and then excavates the creek bed until she has a pond. Once she is satisfied with her work, she climbs back out, soaking wet, and goes back to grazing.

    This is why she can only be in a field with a little creek (it is about 2 feet wide, and only inches deep, even when it floods) because I don't want her getting swept away or stuck.
    Strong promoter of READING the entire post before responding.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep. 2, 2005
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    12,950

    Default

    My mare is a digger. From the looks of it, she thinks it is fun. Digging is what she does when she is happy, mad, frustrated, excited, bored, etc.

    And no, she does not eat things from the hole, she does not stand in the hole, she just digs them.


    The most fun for us is when she is really playing and tries to dig with both feet at once. She almost falls down and stops and looks at the hole like it did something to her and then goes back to digging or bucks off like falling down was on purpose.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov. 10, 2006
    Location
    Southern Finger Lakes of NY
    Posts
    1,736

    Default

    A couple of ours will pick at anything irregular-- if there's a shiny something (like quartz) or a change in texture/pattern/color, they'll give it a paw or two to see what it's about. If they get some sort of exciting reward, like a squeaking noise (from a buried something) or uncover something (like a root that then springs up and bounces), then they'll dig and dig at it until all is revealed and the mystery is solved.

    We have to give a quick eyeball to the corners of the mats in the stalls before we finish re-bedding for the day-- if there's something attractive about the edges, we can be sure there will be excavation during the night.

    The ones who do it seem to just do it for the satisfaction of "doing a job"-- once they've uncovered (or buried) or lost whatever attracted them to it, they're done. And they don't seem to "use" the holes to lie down in or bury food or poop or anything. Just in it for the digging.
    Foxwin Farm
    Home of The Bay Boy Wonder
    and other fine Morgan Sporthorses



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