Well I Finally followed my gut and risked angering the "barn farrier" in order to get Drifter properly looked at. The new farrier came out last night, and after 4 hours and some corrective work later I believe Drifter is finally on the road to recovery!
The official diagnosis ended up being he had some atrophy in his Front L heel but all the heels were starting to appear under run (knew it. Barn farrier told me I didnt know what I was talking about when I tried to bring it up at last trim) and his toes were WAY too long. He did the thing where they use the measurement to measure toe length and explained to me that the ideal domestic horse would be about a 3-3 1/4 .... Drifter was a 4 Which was leading to the worrisome toe dragging I had been noticing
He wanted to try only front shoes to help Drifter naturally wear down his toes in addition to the trim, but after trimming his backs and watching him move he said Drifter would be more comfortable in shoes. We are working on widening his heels once again and repairing his hoof walls and returning him to his previous hoof angles that worked for him. (barn farrier trims every horse the same without taking anything about them into consideration). He told me Drifter has almost no distortion, which I gather is a good thing??
I am really happy with this new guy! I am trying to not get ahead of myself until I see where the next few trims lead us, but I am confident we are finally moving back in the right direction. This farrier has a close relationship with my vet and that is a big bonus to me right there. The barn farrier refused to work with me and my vet on some of Drifter's issues.
The real test for me is to see if Drifter will manage to keep his shoes this entire cycle. With Barn farrier he was all of a sudden needing new shoes every 3 weeks. Like clockwork, he would come up to the barn without 2 or 3 shoes. Once he was even missing all 4!
So let this be a lesson to all. Go with your gut if you feel something is wrong. I kept letting myself be put off by the previous farrier when he would just tell me I had no idea what I was talking about, that some horses are just "born lame". What is that?!? *deep breath*
I will get some pictures of Drifter's new trim this evening. I would love to hear what you all think. I am now trying to learn as much as I can about horse shoeing and hoof health. Any book suggestions?