- 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.