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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 31, 2009
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    13

    Question My horse digs huge holes

    My 3 yr old horse has started to dig huge holes in the sand. I'm thinking it's out of boredom?? She's out 24/7 and has a pasture mate. The pasture mate is an older, blind mare and I'm really afraid that she'll be injured because she can't see the holes. Do you think toys or something would help in the pasture?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 20, 2006
    Location
    Seguin, TX
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    167

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    Wish I knew the answer. I have a similar horse. Toys haven't worked.



  3. #3
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    May. 16, 2008
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    581

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    You should probably move the blind mare so she doesn't do just what you are afraid of her doing.



  4. #4
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    Sep. 13, 2002
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    Pacific Northwest
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    I had a 2 year old that was a digger when I got him. He'd dig huge holes in his turnout, and if he could get the mats up in his stall, he'd dig there too. He's 8 now and still digs! You can try toys, but mine has all the toys and activity and he'll still do it. He wears the toe of his shoes off with all the digging. My SO was thrilled when we had a week or so of cold weather and our gravel paddocks froze hard enough he couldn't dig (SO is the designated hole filler).

    I guess I would be inclined to move the blind horse as well as I doubt you'll succeed in stopping the digging.



  5. #5
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    Apr. 25, 2008
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    1,871

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    Am interested in seeing if anyone has any viable suggestions as well. I've nicknamed my horse Mike Mulligan. He enjoys digging trenches.



  6. #6
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    Oct. 28, 2007
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    NY
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    Do your toys include those that dispense food? I want to try that with my digger.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 9, 2005
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    uk
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    Quote Originally Posted by showclothes View Post
    My 3 yr old horse has started to dig huge holes in the sand. I'm thinking it's out of boredom?? She's out 24/7 and has a pasture mate. The pasture mate is an older, blind mare and I'm really afraid that she'll be injured because she can't see the holes. Do you think toys or something would help in the pasture?
    have you not got a grass paddock, some times they do this and its not just boredum its hungar , if not then place out mre haynets around the turn out area dont place hay on the floor as you dont want the horses to eat to much and remember your horse is still growing and hay as in good quality hay is the best thing you can give him,

    i would say hes hungry



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 9, 2007
    Posts
    9,450

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    My WB used to dig in one paddock in one place. He would dig a hole 3 or 4 ft deep, put his forelegs in it and sit on the edge.

    The BO kept saying he had navicular, etc. Vet examined everything and said he was fine.

    There was wood down in the ground (I was always having to cover the hole up, so I found planks down there.) and I think there was buried treasure.......or a dead body from the War of Northern Aggression.

    He has overcome his compulsion now, as we've moved to another barn. WBs are very curious animals. I prefer to use that term rather than the term that WBs get into trouble a lot.

    Move the blind horse, though. Don't want her stumbling in a hle and breaking her leg.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 14, 2002
    Location
    The horse country of VA
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    3,392

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chall View Post
    Do your toys include those that dispense food? I want to try that with my digger.
    These are what I got my 2 horses for Christmas:
    http://www.nose-it.com/

    Keeps them busy for hours and hours. The second time I went out to the paddock with the Nose-Its in hand, my mare left her hay to trot after me in anticipation.

    I fill them with Ontario Dehy Balanced Timothy cubes (my mare is IR), and it takes hours for my horses to empty those balls. Plus they get lots of exercise rolling them all over the place, which is good since I don't ride when it gets below 40.
    Equus Keepus Brokus



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
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    16,825

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    Mine took up hole digging for a minute recently.

    It appears that he was hungry. Also he was perhaps a little bored.

    Does your mare do this when she has an audience, or by herself?

    Does she do it somewhere near the gate?

    Does the hole digging increase with the cold?

    My horse did not lose weight before he took up his "I want more hay, dammit!" digging. He's smart and looks out for himself, so he started calling room service before any actual suffering commenced.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 1, 2008
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    5,110

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    Does he paw when he's tied up?



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 29, 2000
    Location
    Southbury, CT USA
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    Hey Liberty:

    Those Nose-its look intriguing! I had something similar years ago for my Australian Cattle Dog and she used to love it!

    How much do they hold? Are you able to clean them?

    I have a pony who loves to dig holes in her 24' run that is attached to her stall. She only does it when she's in there, not in the paddocks so I assume it's because she's trying to "play" with her friends in the runs next door, but it is annoying. This filly also loves to paw her water bucket until all the water spills out. She's a fun one :-)

    I'd be willing to give one of these a try!
    Sincerely:

    Karen A. Fildes
    Caer Avallach Farm LLC - Breeders of Quality Hunter & Sport Ponies
    www.cafarm.com
    Ponyworld - The Online Resource for Pony Enthusiasts -
    www.ponyworld.net



  13. #13
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    Dec. 31, 2009
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    Hi, Thought I'd check back in and tell everyone that hopefully this was only a one time thing with this mare. Those who said they thought she was hungry were right. I keep a pretty routine feeding schedule and as I think back on that night I realize I was about 1 1/2hr late feeding. I think this was the reason for the digging. It was right where they always get their hay.

    She does now have some toys in the paddock area and seems to enjoy them. The cube thing seems to be a good idea but with the loose sand we have here in FL I think she might be inclined to dig to find the treat if it got buried in the sand. I think with a pasture that is more compacted it would be a great idea.

    I didn't realize that so many horses actually have a digging problem :-)



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2002
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    between the barn and the pond
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    My TWH Chip is not a digger but a waver. If I'm slow getting to his bowl in the field, he stands, head down, and flaps his left front out in front of him, totally stiff legged, just SO PUT OUT WITH ME HE COULD SCREAM!



  15. #15
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    Feb. 13, 2005
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    Columbus, OH
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    Quote Originally Posted by kfildes View Post
    Hey Liberty:

    How much do they hold? Are you able to clean them?
    I am not Liberty, but I'm the one who started the Nose-It craze shortly before Christmas by ordering one for my horse. My horse is GAGA for his Nose-It and he has never been interested in a horse toy before. He's not a digger so I can't speak to whether it would stop a digger.

    They hold a lot. I don't have it in front of me, but I'd guess maybe 2 gallons of volume on the interior?

    Someone was complaining on the other thread about not being able to clean it, but mine cleaned up fine. I stuck the nozzle of the hose in there, sprayed around to remove the major debris, sloshed a dilute bleach solution around, sprayed around again, and then left it to drain/dry.

    I did drill a bigger hole in the top so that I could use it with hay cubes, but if you can avoid drilling a bigger hole, that would elongate the fun. There is a little plastic lip on the inside of the hole that makes it harder for stuff to fall out; I had to cut off that lip to use hay cubes. Even so, it takes my horse awhile to empty the thing. And it takes him even longer to figure out that it's empty and he should stop pushing it around.

    PS, they are a few bucks cheaper on Ebay than on Nose-It.com.
    ________________________
    Resident COTH saddle nerd. (CYA: Not a pro, just a long-time enthusiast!)
    http://twitter.com/jenlmichaels



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 22, 2007
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    Port Charlotte, FL
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    Quote Originally Posted by katarine View Post
    My TWH Chip is not a digger but a waver. If I'm slow getting to his bowl in the field, he stands, head down, and flaps his left front out in front of him, totally stiff legged, just SO PUT OUT WITH ME HE COULD SCREAM!
    I have a "choir director" that waives one foot around in the air "while" eating his grain. Its like pawing, but the foot doesn't touch the ground.



  17. #17
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    Apr. 17, 2002
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    Tom, that's it exactly. Occasionally the hoof will skiff the ground, just a feather weight pass...then back to choir directing. He's bonked me with it dumping his feed and I can't get mad, he's just pointing LOL



  18. #18
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    Nov. 22, 2007
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    Port Charlotte, FL
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    Quote Originally Posted by katarine View Post
    Tom, that's it exactly. Occasionally the hoof will skiff the ground, just a feather weight pass...then back to choir directing. He's bonked me with it dumping his feed and I can't get mad, he's just pointing LOL
    We have had 3 geldings that do this and one filly that dug half way to China in our front paddock. All from the same mare but 2 different sires.

    Maybe ours are related. Here's the mare's bloodline.

    http://www.allbreedpedigree.com/miss+blackburn+101



  19. #19
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    Apr. 17, 2002
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    not a chance...he's a TWH (Coins Hard Cash and The Pusher CG) so while there may be an errant ASB back there, there's definitely no old school QHs



  20. #20
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    Nov. 29, 2005
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    2,625

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    I have a digger too... but it's because she like to sleep in sand/dirt. She's free choice hay and isn't stalled- has a buddy (who's also taken up the habit of digging now). She has an 'open stall' which I keep deeply bedded but that's not suitable for sun bathing.

    They dig a crater and roll/nap in it When I clean- I fill it back up.



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