So, update on Mr. Digs himself! Due to the hurricane and the following storms featuring more flooding, massive road and fence damage, and some other fun bad weather activities, Digby just hasn't been going out. None of the horses at the barn have. They don't have sheds in the majority of the fields and it just isn't safe for a horse to be out in severe thunderstorms with wind and potential (and sometimes definite) flooding. He has gotten his feet done. The vet gave free x-rays (a big thank you!) to our farrier so she could properly address Digby's freakish hoof issue and make sure the angles are correct so we are doing the most we can to help prevent the issue again. The angles were basically correct already so we're just going to continue to leave him as is. We don't want to increase the heel angle like you would with a normal navicular horse because we're not sure what exactly is causing him to go lame. It might not be his congenital bipartite navicular bone. It might be something entirely different and in order to be certain, we need to do several more vet visits with MRIs, more x-rays, etc. I just can't afford to do that on a free horse when he's comfortable. If we can't get him comfortable after he goes back into work, we'll have to think about things. He got shod again with the pads and the EquiPak just for extra "comfiness." Yes, I did just make that into a word! His weird right hind swelling that lasted way too long for my comfort has gone down and is back to his normal size.
With winter quickly approaching, Digby needs to get back into regular work... NOW. Winter and Digs don't mix so well. I'm not sure if it's the cold, or the lack of turnout, or the fact that he needs lots of food to keep from losing weight but he tends to get wild in the winter. Always has. I'd like to avoid having to walk for half an hour with only 2 minutes of trotting when he's going to want to be leaping around like an idiot. He's had off since June and needs to be brought back slooowly. Think walking for twenty minutes and trotting half way around the ring. Then walking for thirty minutes and trotting one way around the ring. Then walking for thirty minutes and trotting one way around the ring and one way the other direction. Yes, that slowly. I haven't made an "official" plan yet but it will include a LOT of what I call "busy work." Since we'll be doing a lot of walking, far more than either of us is going to enjoy, I need to keep his little brain busy. This means I'm going to be constantly riding but without the addition of other gaits. I'll be asking for changes of bend, transitions within the gait, transitions between gaits (aka halt and walk), doing lots of schooling figures and hopefully playing with some lateral movements. I'm also going to incorporate ground poles into the plan as long as Digby behaves and doesn't try to jump them and land in a bucking frenzy. That's happened before. If anyone has any awesome ideas for me, let me know! Digby isn't the type of horse you can just throw the reins at and walk around for hours at a time. Trail rides are an option but he's 1) not very well behaved on them and 2) winter is coming. Either way, they are definitely going out tonight because the entire barn is going stir crazy. So tomorrow, I will definitely be sitting on the wild hony beast in an attempt to get back into "regular" work. Hopefully by the beginning of winter, I'll be able to move him around enough to be safe for riding.
The farrier said something totally perfect when I was holding him so she could shoe him the other day. "Digby isn't mean, definitely not. He's never even remotely aggressive. He's just kind of a playful weasel. He has an opinion on EVERYTHING. From how he wants to stand, to where he wants to walk, how he wants to be touched, how much hay he gets, everything, right down to what color his freaking shavings are! I've never met a horse with so many opinions!" <3 I love my opinionated, high maintenance pony.
PS - Still no name for my "grooming mini series" but I'm tossing around some ideas... hopefully the first installment will come soon! :)