Digging - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 03-22-2013, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
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Digging

I thought I would share this, and see if anyone has ever had a similar experience. My little haffie filly started digging a hole 4 days ago. It has been very windy, so I have just groomed and done hoof work for the past four days. On her "digging day one" I figured maybe it was b/c I didn't work w her aside from grooming/hoof trimming. On the second "digging day" I snuck around to see what she was "doing". She would dig, hit a large rock (it is very rocky ground) dislodge and removed it. That would be a hard task for a grown man w a pick and shovel. The horse's area is thick sand (brought in), she originally dug through that layer down to the hard (rock hard) ground. Well, it is day four and she has created a good sized crater. I have seen pregnant mares "scratch out" a depression and then lay down - but this seems to be her ongoing project. I checked throughout the day today and sometimes I would see the little "puffs" of dust (looks like smoke signals b/c of the wind) from her digging efforts. It is so weird.

Any other "diggers" out there?

There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it.
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post #2 of 11 Old 03-22-2013, 01:29 AM
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My horse digs before he eats, I hold his leg up, and now he holds his leg up when he eats. The whole time he eats, like he was trained to do this, and I suppose he was.
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post #3 of 11 Old 03-22-2013, 02:31 AM
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A stallion that I had used to dig a big hole in the middle of his pen & he often slept in it. I got a lot of exercise filling it in numerous times.
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post #4 of 11 Old 03-22-2013, 09:12 AM
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In the majority of cases, digging is a natural behavior to get down to a clay layer to lick it and roll in it. Clay has a lot of beneficial properties and many animals crave it. You might try upping minerals or supplementing with some form of Bentonite...
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post #5 of 11 Old 03-22-2013, 09:24 AM
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I agree with Face (WOW!!!!) its possibly a mineral deficiency especially as the horse is kept on a sand paddock and not on dirt/grass which is really what is natural for them - many of the places we keep horses in would not have been places where horses would live or survive naturally
I keep good quality mineral licks all over the place but the only two that bothered with them were the new mares that had previously been kept on small sand paddocks - they almost ate them at first and now I notice after a while with us and being able to go on reasonable acreage of grass barely touch them at all
The only other thought is boredom and digging alleviates that and presents a challenge - that might tie in with the fact you haven't been able to work as normal
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post #6 of 11 Old 03-22-2013, 10:10 AM
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I've seen colts dig big holes in their pens (craters) overnight after being gelded.....could possibly be a pain response......just like some people pace around when they're in pain, horses will dig!
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post #7 of 11 Old 03-22-2013, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faceman View Post
In the majority of cases, digging is a natural behavior to get down to a clay layer to lick it and roll in it. Clay has a lot of beneficial properties and many animals crave it. You might try upping minerals or supplementing with some form of Bentonite...
Interesting. That is what my husband (non horsey) said (that maybe it was mineral she was after). They always have a mineral block, and currently get moorman's patriot 14...but just in case I am going to add loose mineral to her feed. If she actually hits caliche, I will have to bring in a full sized backhoe to fill it in. :)

There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it.
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post #8 of 11 Old 03-22-2013, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jaydee View Post
I agree with Face (WOW!!!!) its possibly a mineral deficiency especially as the horse is kept on a sand paddock and not on dirt/grass which is really what is natural for them - many of the places we keep horses in would not have been places where horses would live or survive naturally
I keep good quality mineral licks all over the place but the only two that bothered with them were the new mares that had previously been kept on small sand paddocks - they almost ate them at first and now I notice after a while with us and being able to go on reasonable acreage of grass barely touch them at all
The only other thought is boredom and digging alleviates that and presents a challenge - that might tie in with the fact you haven't been able to work as normal
I am in the desert, so no grass. The area they are primarily kept was sanded for the comfort of a past senior. But, as soon as the weather is kinder, I will be taking notes to see if being worked slows her digging down. She does love to be worked with, no matter the difficulty or "frustration" level. The "I am bored, come work with me or I will run away to China" sounds like something she would pull. Until I got her, I never had a youngster that wasn't allowed to just be a horse (run free) until it was well into its second year, however, she was kept in a small paddock during her entire second year. I will NEVER make that mistake again - horses raised like that are missing more than minerals! :) While I love her and she is easy, easy to train, she has the oddest and some of the most annoying behaviors I have ever dealt with..including this one! But as usual, I will give her the benefit of the doubt and try to "address" it. :)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Muppetgirl View Post
I've seen colts dig big holes in their pens (craters) overnight after being gelded.....could possibly be a pain response......just like some people pace around when they're in pain, horses will dig!
She shows no signs of pain (very playful w my mare, runs about and has a healthy appetite). I don't think she is in pain, w the possible exception of the emergence of her bottom incisors. But, I will look to see if it is a possibility.

There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it.
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post #9 of 11 Old 03-22-2013, 01:04 PM
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It's Haffie speak....
She is trying to tell you that she is willing to help put all the black gold you make to good use.
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post #10 of 11 Old 03-22-2013, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Lockwood View Post
It's Haffie speak....
She is trying to tell you that she is willing to help put all the black gold you make to good use.
Say...that isn't a bad idea, black stuff and sand to back-fill. But she is like that ("here let me help you, no I insist, really - it's no trouble"......kaboom!..."awe, you don't have to thank me").
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There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it.
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