Toe dragging: Immediate help and long term help.
Its no secret my mare isn't using her hind end. I can feel that much in the saddle, so I have been working hard to get her using that hind end. Low cavaletti, ground poles and really focusing on driving her forward.
Today my trainer and I noticed she has significant wear on her toes in the back. This was less of an issue at the old barn she was from because they had sand - my current barn has a grass arena. It's not an issue of pain, lameness or injury. She was recently checked by the vet and he told us her legs were fine, no sign of injury or past injury, and nothing has happened since to cause it.
Now, her old farrier before I bought her left way too much toe. Generally, the trim just looks weird. My trainer agrees with me. She's getting a trim on Friday with a new farrier that my trainer recommended, so I'm hoping a more balanced trim will help her. The hoof angle is not matching up to the pastern angle at all right now.
While I'm hoping a better trim will help, if it doesn't, shoes may be the option we need to go towards. I'm trying to avoid that - I'm very pro-barefoot. The increased cost is not an issue to me, I will do whatever keeps her sound and healthy - I just feel if I can fix it without them, she will be better off in the long run.
Obviously what needs to be done in the long run is getting her picking up her feet and carrying herself properly, but immediately, if the trim doesn't improve things, I'm looking for something to relieve her toes of the dragging in the immediate future. I was thinking maybe bell boots, but they won't go down far enough to protect the toe. Then again, they may encourage her to pick up her feet anyway just by being there, but for how long is the question, before she gets used to them?
Anyone have any suggestions for me - long term or short term!
Ive seen some people put almost like weights on the hing legs to make the horse pick the feet up more, then once they have used them a few times the horse just automatically lifts them.. Im a probarefoot person too but some times putting shoes on is good, and you can get shoes special for those reasons
I thought about that myself, honestly.
She used to give me a lot of suspension in polos so I wrapped her all the way around today to see if that encouraged anything in the back, but it really didn't help as much as I had hoped. I thought even the added support back there might encourage her to move out more, but blah.
I'm really, really hoping a good trim will help...I feel like on balanced feet she might start to change how she moves if I reinforce it under saddle and on the lunge line. I would love to have her work out barefoot.
I've heard of people putting light rollers on trotting horses. They're action devices. Mostly they just get the horse to go 'WTF is on my leg?' and pick it up higher.
Vivache, something like that is really what I'm geared towards going with (assuming the trim doesn't make things totally different, and who knows, it IS possible as funky as her feet are trimmed right now). I don't want to do anything that will be invasive or stressful on her, but just something to encourage her to actually think about her hind feet and where they are and lift them up. That was my intention with the polos --- we had that result on the front when I used them, so I thought she might think they felt weird on the back, but she is used to them on the front now and I think she was chill with them on the back too because of that.
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