Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Think I'm high maintenance? You should see my horse...

I got to thinking today about Digby's odd affection while I was grooming his neck and shoulders with the curry (usually he's not a fan of the curry at all) and decided that it might be his blanket. He just started wearing it. Now, this is the ONLY blanket I've found that fits him without giving him rubs on his withers or his shoulders. He wore a shoulder guard the first winter I had him and was fine but last winter, it rubbed him! Isn't the point of it to not get rubs? I took it off and he was fine with his one medium weight blanket on. I always put blankets on after he got clipped so I figured he was just itchy the first few weeks but he didn't get clipped this year. He's only getting the blanket on when it gets cold (into the 20s at night) enough to warrant him having clothing so he doesn't lose weight. Which brings me to my next point... what if Digby wasn't completely spoiled? He must be totally nuts. I suppose when he lived at the college he wasn't spoiled and we all see how well that worked out. I'm sure there are horses out there that are as high maintenance as him. Let's list several things Digby thinks he should get special treatment for:

  • Saddles. He's a tricky saddle fit. It needs to be a good fitting saddle, in the proper position on his back, with a half pad and a wither relief saddle pad. If one of these is not correct, he gets cranky. Think tail swishing, grinding of teeth, resistance to move forward cranky.
  • Flies. Any and all flies MUST. BE. KILLED! If a fly lands on him at any point in the ride, Digby feels he was full right to completely ignore any and all requests until aforementioned pest is removed from him. He will resort to any means necessary.
  • Flat work. He gets bored with flat work at best but tends to flat like a champ, no martingale, simple happy mouth d ring like a total short stirrup pony requiring a crop and the occasional spur. But if you ask him to flat in a grass field or on a trail ride? He's calling the union on you because clearly, this is not in his job description. I can usually coax him into doing it but he's very good at telling me "mom, I'll do it because you want me to... but I really hate it. Can we get this over with?"
  • Jumping. Some days he lopes around and you could probably but a kid on him. Other days if it's above or below a certain temperature, he worked semi hard the day before or the wind is blowing just right, watch out. He turns into a nut case, needs a martingale, absolutely no crop or spurs, front and back boots (because if he hits himself while jumping you may die. It's apparently your fault that he's overzealous), and under no circumstance are you to tell him what to do in the last two strides before the fence. He will suck behind the vertical, jump, land and attempt to kill you in a very nonchalant way. Though I suppose this part no longer applies because we will no longer be jumping. :( Sigh...
  • Sweating and drinking. He's not a big drinker and he's not a big sweater either. This worries me in the cold, cold months of winter (he tends to colic in the winter I've noticed) and in the heat of the summer where he sweats but really not a lot. This is easily fixed thankfully by electrolytes.
  • Feeding. Summer he's FAT, winter he's SKINNY. If you feed too much grain in the winter, he gets wild! Beet pulp usually helps with this or grain-free feed like most senior feeds but it's still a serious process. In the summer, you literally can't feed him anything because he's a chunky chunky thing.
  • Turnout. He requires at least one friend at all times. More is better. If you remove this friend, he will be very displeased. He also requires at least 8+ hours a day. None of this "4 hours" nonsense. This required 8 hours does not depend on weather in the least. He wants to be out. Like 5 minutes ago, what are you waiting for?
  • Blankets. Oh god, just about every blanket I try on him, gives him either shoulder rubs (which has previously been fixed by a shoulder guard... that then also started rubbing him??) or wither rubs. The one that doesn't, as I mentioned above, apparently makes his neck and shoulders itchy and/or sore. Oh it also rubs away a tiny 1 inch section of his mane every year.
  • Farriers. They are his personal chew toy. End of story.
I'm sure there's more but that's all I can think of at the moment! Is anyone else's horse as opinionated or high maintenance as mine? It's a good thing I pay attention enough to pick up on these things or else he would be a very unhappy camper. Someone should remind him that life could be far worse next time they see him! :) I guess I love him anyway.


  1. haha i love reading your blog.

    and i have to say...i think my mare might be up there in the high maintenance department with digby! they should become friends!!!

    1) she cannot be kept in her stall for more than 12 hours, however, if you don't bring her in after 12 hours outside, or if you decide to keep her out b/c its such a nice day out she gets pouty and stands at the gate staring at you saying "i want in". this also applies when raining. she HATE the rain and will be miserable all day if she has to be outside in it
    2) she needs electric fence. otherwise, if she decides she is hungry and the grass/hay in the field couldn't POSSIBLY be good enough and there is any section of fence that may be weak or rotting away, she will find it and break it (or take the gate off the hinges....or jump it...she has done both of these)
    3) she has days just like digby. seriously .... some days she is THE BEST horse in the world. flats, jumps the moon, and is so brave. and then other days, the scary monsters that live in the woods are DEF out to get her and anything that moves or doesn't move is fair game to spook at.
    4) shes moody. some days sweetest girl in the world. other days .... better watch it. girl has PMS (if horses actually had that lol)
    5) when out trail riding .... she sometimes throws a slight temper tantrum about walking first, and then gets over it and goes, but then if another horse becomes even with her stride she decides that again she can't possibly be the first one to walk. stops dead in place and throws another tantrum. if we trail ride by ourselves, shes perfectly capable of walking/trotting/cantering without even thinking about not going foward
    6) on the occasion that she refuses to move forward at all, she backs and aims at the closest horse b/c she KNOWS that i won't hit or kick her if she has the potential to kick at another horse so she places her butt in just the right position so i have to spin her before correcting her.
    7) did i mention some days everything in the world is scary???? lol
    8) even clipped and with all her blankets on she still manages to get dirt up under her hooded blanket and shoulder guard. if someone could tell me how she manages to get caked dirt under her should guard yet still have her blanket perfectly in place i would LOVE to know
    9) she also HATES flies. maybe not as much as digby, but she gets very very agitated. i almost thought at the beginning of fly season this year she had a cranial nerve disorder b/c she was shaking her head so much when riding (i realized it was b/c of the all the little nats hitting her nose) that i thought she had some neurological thing going on (i'm paranoid and probably know too much veterinary information)
    11) she needs to stay on a strict riding schedule. it might just be b/c im paranoid of her regressing to the rearing/bucking mess she was when i first got her and the fact that if she wasn't ridden consistently she would try to kill you.... but even now you can tell if she hasn't been ridden in a few days. lunging on those occasions is usually a good idea....you will know it was a good idea when she squeals haha
    12) she can't live in a stall with a dutch door. she WILL jump out. seen her do it multiple times. i do love that shes highly athletic at least ......
    13) flowers WILL eat her. or anything that that is sitting there that wasn't there previously (like... a tractor sitting in a new place....)
    14) you can clip her WHOLE body and chin and eyes and bridle path and ears, but the ears have to be with a gum chain, but you CAN'T, even with a TON of sedation and twitch and gum chain clip her muzzle with clippers. idk why and i've given up on even caring about it anymore. i just take scissors to her muzzle since i am able to do EVERYWHERE else on her body lol

    that's all i can think of for now. but i thought you would enjoy! hope digby likes his new place!!!!

    ~Julia M.~

  2. Wow. I'll stick with my low maintenance energizer bunny mountain horse. No blankets, outside 12 hours a day, bare foot. She gains weight easily so from May to October she has to have a grazing muzzle. My only issue is her attitude. You see, Miss Rain knows exactly what I want to do, and if I try to tell her otherwise I get the saucy head tossing. She also has been somehow getting into caffeine lately because she wants to run....even if its a steep hill up and steep hill down...kind of like a roller coaster ride. We're working on the stop button right now and she is none too happy. Good luck with your move.

  3. Thanks guys! There's strength in numbers, right? :) Although, not to pull this card, but you both have mares... They (almost) have an excuse. I get the hormone thing girls, I really do. But Mr. Digby who is definitely a gelding has no excuse to be a princess! Other than the fact that he thinks he deserves it, of course!

  4. haha this is true. she is a girl. mares will be mares.

    maybe digby just thinks he's a stud man still :)