He is a digger - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 04-29-2014, 12:43 AM Thread Starter
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He is a digger

I have a 9 month old QH colt. When we feed him grain he gets so excited he pounds his front feet on the ground so hard he makes a trench in the ground. I have tried standing there and pushing his knee down and saying "no", but this only works for a while. I read once in my Beery books that we should tie a small board to his leg and when he stomps the board hits his knee and stops him. Have not tried this theory yet. Any other ideas? He does listen well, and trained easily to lead and tie.
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post #2 of 20 Old 04-30-2014, 03:52 PM
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I have a mare that does this. To me, it's just one of those behaviors that they will do no matter what, kind of like when they get into little fights with their buddies. I don't worry about her doing this, and it has not damaged her hoof or let, so I don't see the point in trying to correct it. However, I don't know everything and am very likely wrong, so anybody feel free to correct me!
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post #3 of 20 Old 04-30-2014, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input. He does not appear to be hurting himself. In fact I think he enjoys it. But my 10mo old filly is starting to pick up the habit, but not as often. Red has big ditches everywhere I tie him. He is young yet maybe he will grow out of it. Ha Ha
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post #4 of 20 Old 05-01-2014, 12:03 AM
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If there is a way to train a horse out of doing this, I haven't heard of it. I wouldn't be tying boards to horses' legs though, I would just let them stomp.
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post #5 of 20 Old 05-01-2014, 12:08 AM
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I've tried fixing this on three horses, only worked on one though.

I would take a crop and give them a good whack on the offending leg as soon as it was picked up. Did it for a week daily, worked for awhile on the first one (but had to be redone every once in awhile), worked perfectly on the second (never stomped or pawed again that I know of), and it didn't work on the third, I gave up after a week and a half.
I wouldn't worry too much about it though, just patch the holes or tie him at the same spot.
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post #6 of 20 Old 05-01-2014, 12:21 AM
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My mare does the same thing, I think it is an impatient and/or excited thing. Most of the time grain and feeding time tends to get horses excited and if you take your time mixing it they get impatient. My mare wont paw if I am standing there but as soon as I walk away a few feet she does it again. She also used to do this while being tied but I kept her tied and she learned patients from that. She got the habit from her dam when she was a foal and has done it ever since. You can train a horse out of it by punishing that behavior but personally as long as they get respectful and stop when I am right there then I don't stop them. So unless it starts becoming an issue like when your leading him or stand stopped with him then get on his butt about it because that is impatience and it can do some damage if he gets your leg. I leaned that the hard way when my mare sprained my knee. (My fault for not paying attention and not correcting it the second I noticed it.)
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post #7 of 20 Old 05-01-2014, 12:27 AM
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Set his feed where you can easily remove it. When he starts pawing, take his feed away. Don't return it until he quits. Once won't fix it so you'll have to be consistent. It may take 4 or 5 tries before it sinks in. He'll learn that he gets to eat when the pawing behaviour stops. If he's pawing in anticipation of it's arrival turn your back and walk away without giving him the feed.
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post #8 of 20 Old 05-01-2014, 12:45 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Warrie,
I agree. When I am there and ask him to stop he does. I was concerned about him hurting himself as he is still young. He does it only while he is getting grain. When I lead him and and handle him he does not do it.
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post #9 of 20 Old 05-01-2014, 01:04 AM
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Welcome Vernette!

If it does bother you that he does it I would not tie a board to his leg though. It could freak him out and though it could help, it could also damage him, I have seen foals freak out (Of course if you introduce it right it would be okay) and one almost broke his leg the owner was lucky it was just a sprain. So if you want him to stop I would try Iseul's or SaddleBag's though Like Iseul said that does not always work and personally I tried SaddleBag's and it did not help either it actually just made her more impatient so she dug ten times more then she had originally, went without her grain for an hour (Which is a long time for a mare who LOVES grain), until she got distracted so I put it back and she went right back to digging as soon as I was a few feet away, did this for a week and it didn't change. So it all depends on the horse and what he learns best from.

And as for the handling and stuff that is great, as long as he stays that way I wouldn't worry about it. It has not hurt my mare and she has done it for nine years now. Only makes the hoof a little flat looking from all the digging, probably builds muscle too.
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post #10 of 20 Old 05-01-2014, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Warrie, I am new to the Horse Forum and I'm really enjoying reading everything. I did not like the idea of tying a small piece of wood to my colt. He's doing well with everything else. As long as its not hurting him, I'll just keep watching out for his front feet. His hoof does look shiny on the dominant side. My husband says maybe we wont have to trim that one so often. Ha Ha. Thank you for your response. I just love the look of your horse in the picture. We have a chestnut rat tail appaloosa 34yrs old. Still doing really well.
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