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DressageIsToDance 02-27-2011 01:09 PM

Could hip out of alignment be the culprit for toe dragging?
Obviously Amber's toes have been an issue for a while. Now she is dangerously close to the soft tissue, thanks to my barn owner mysteriously not being able to get any farrier out to see her and fix her up. Amazingly, she could get the farrier out in just a week for another boarder's new horse. Why did mine take FOUR WEEKS after she was due? Every time I was about to pick up the phone and call some of the numbers I had, she had "made an appointment". Lesson learned, though.

Amber is getting hind shoes with modified toe clips asap. I am moving her to a new barn on Tuesday. I liked the trim that the farrier who my BO finally got out did, and he seems pretty good, but if I cannot get ahold of him better than she has been able to, I will use the farrier who generally does the new barn. Getting the shoes on soon as possible is my priority (well, obviously, a quality job is as well).

So obviously, Amber is a terrible hind toe dragger. The left hind more so than the right hind.

Everyone has been harping "she's just lazy". Well, after much thought, I am starting to believe that is not the case. Not once since I started riding her and not once since I bought her have I gotten the impression she is "lazy". She does not have a good grasp on self carriage yet, but that is not what I consider to be lazy. She's very forward, very willing, and wants to learn. But more and more that hind end not coming under her and dragging I am seeing a "can't" rather than a "don't want to". The farrier said her hips were out of alignment. If this is true, that could be a big physical block for those hind legs to get under her.

Now, for those more experience in issues like this (this is something I have never dealt with), is this a serious and likely possibility, or what could I be looking at here? Or is it simply the fact she doesn't know how to carry herself?

Again, I'm holding to the fact that she's NOT lazy, and that's NOT the issue, because in riding her she is more than willing to be forward and work, but it's like her hind end just can't get there.

Either way, I am calling an equine chiropractor out to take a look, but peace of mind that I'm not crazy in thinking this would be nice.

xXEventerXx 02-27-2011 02:17 PM

If that was my horse i would get a chiropractor out before you get special shoes put on her, you will fix one issue with the shoes then lead to another thing to check it get her on a flat surface and stand behind her and see if everything is level and even.

Anvil 02-27-2011 02:19 PM

Yes I would agree get an equine chiropractor out. Any kind of soreness or joint problems can cause a misfuction in like toe dragging. Also in my experince is try to get those hind feet up on its heels and support them heels with as light a shoe as you can. But remember if you use to light of a shoe it will bend then you are better of useing a heavier shoe. Use what fits best for your horse. Good Luck.
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tinyliny 02-27-2011 02:39 PM

Along with looking at her butt from behind (on level ground and squared up), try to get up on a chair or ladder and look down on her from above to see if she isuneven from the above view. Is one hip more advanced than the other? Is she much more muscular on one side than the other? Is there any curvature of her spine?

Definintely get a good chiro out. Get recommendations for a good one, some are just too woo-woo for me.

dressagebelle 02-27-2011 03:39 PM

I would definitely get a chiro out, and I agree find one that has lots of good references. Hips being out could definitely be causing her to drag her feet, especially if she's doing one more than the other. The thoroughbred mare I bought years ago apparently had out of place hips, and I don't know exactly what my trainer was looking at to make her think that, but once we got the chiro out, she confirmed the hips, adjusted her, and she seemed to move better afterward. It was so long ago, and I was still relatively new to owning horses, so I wasn't as observant, and didn't ask as many questions as I could have. I would also look at her from the front and sides when she's on solid level ground. Does she stand with one leg more forward then the other, and is unable to stand straight, when you look from the front, is she tweaking her hips to one side or the other in addition to dropping one side when looking from behind. She could also have other things that are out of place that are adding to the problem as well, so I would have her thoroughly checked out by a chiro and see what they say. Good luck, I hope that you find what is wrong and can fix it.

DressageIsToDance 02-28-2011 12:20 AM

Definitely going to get good recommendations. I know there are some real quacks that try to call themselves equine chiropractors!

xXEventerXx, that has been something weighing on my mind. I'm just worried about her taking any more toe off. Right now, as a very temporary fix, I have put duct tape in layers over the area. Obviously, this is not the best in the world, but it is providing some degree of help in the pasture for now. I have her on hoof supplements to promote growth to hopefully get her toes back to normal faster, since she is a slow grower (even for the winter). Even four weeks overdue, she was NOT that bad on growth, just unbalanced from a bad trim with her previous owners, and obviously I was anxious to get a recommendation on the toes from the farrier.

I'm relieved to hear that my feeling on this makes sense. I'm wondering if the vet the new barn uses does chiro work. I've heard a lot of good things about this vet, but nothing about chiropractic work. Worth asking. I'm very happy that she is the main vet this barn uses, because I have wanted to give her a try but she's too far from the area I was riding in - now that I'm coming closer, I can finally see if all the good things I've heard are true! :)

loosie 02-28-2011 08:48 PM

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Hi, agree with others. Also yourself on the note of it not being laziness - horses don't do that sort of thing out of laziness. I would be extremely wary about putting shoes on her at this point, at least until the problems have been uncovered & treated. I also have a pony who was a toe dragger and in his case this was due to 'locking patella' issues. I was gathering she must have been on concrete a lot or other hard surface, for that much toe wear(I gathered you weren't riding her, with the obvious probs). But hearing that she's just on pasture & 'wearing' her toes like that(don't panic, obviously this is only a guess/possibility...), have you considered that she may be foundered, with P3 starting to protrude, rather than wearing from the outside?

With regard to supplements, ensuring she has well balanced nutrition is important, but be aware that some supps lack many essentials or are not well balanced, and may also include lots of largely unnecessary ingredients, such as biotin, for eg, which is not commonly a nutrient lacking in normal equine diets. It seems you do tend to get what you pay for, and the most expensive products may be not only better but more economical when you do the sums, than the cheap ones. Also, perhaps more important than nutritional supps is basic diet - unhealthy diet & too starchy/rich feed can cause major hoof and growth issues.

DressageIsToDance 03-01-2011 12:54 AM

Nope, it's just regular grass we've been riding on. More so during riding. She picks up better in the walk than at trot/canter, so obviously more wear in riding because she will trot and canter less in the pasture. I was riding her 3-4 days a week, 45 minutes, walk/trot/canter. Normal flat work mostly, with a few poles and a few jumps, all of which were 18" or less.

It's definitely not founder. She's squared it off from the outside.

She is on a very low fat feed, and is not getting much at all. She's what you'd call a very easy keeper. I'm fixing to reduce her feed since she's not working as she was, in fact.

The right hind hoof is SIGNIFICANTLY less worn than the left after even closer inspection today. Which further validates my feeling about the hip, I think.

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