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Toe Dragging/New Farrier

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  • Toe Dragging/New Farrier

    Hello Everyone!

    Wondering if any one has any advice on this situation. I relocated to a new barn a few months ago and had to change to a new (very reputable) farrier. The day after my 8 yr. old mare was shod by him for the first time, she began to drag both of her hind feet when we walked down a hill before training. She still does this on this hill.

    I am wondering if the toe dragging is just a coincidence and this just happened to be the first day that she decided she didn't want to head down the hill to do work... or if the farrier did something different with her shoes and this is normal? I have asked him about it a few times and he thinks she is dragging them because she has some mild stifle issues/upward fixation of the patella.

    Also, she has also been off twice since then for a few days at a time and has never had any lameness issues in the 3 years that I have owned her. (Though this could be due to her new habit of stall kicking--which she and I are also working on...)

    Thanks in advance for any input any one can offer.

  • #2
    To get a handle on cause and effect, you need a baseline for comparison to before and after.

    Prior to switching farriers and barns, did you regularly walk your horse down a hill? If not, then how would you know if she dragger her toes going down a hill?

    Prior to switching farriers and barns, did your mare kick the stall? If not . . .

    Comment


    • #3
      Do her toes look long at all?

      Comment


      • #4
        Having learned this the hard way, I'd get to the bottom of this quick. I bought a lovely little guy about five years ago who drug his back toes. Everyone blamed it on him being lazy/weak stifles.

        Over the last month, it finally caught up with us. I had my vet do a lameness exam because he was Not Quite Right. Because the problem seemed a bit elusive, we included x-raying all his hooves. Each hoof had a negative palmer angle--the coffin bone isn't positioned in the hoof at the normal 3-5 degree angle. At the recommendation of my vet, I had a farrier who has been very successful in shoeing/correcting these issues out to work on him.

        In one shoeing with a regular shoe, was able to correct the hind toe dragging. Within a couple resets, the angles and alignment should be fine in the hinds. (The fronts will take a year if I'm lucky.)

        If your horse never dragged his hind toes before, and started this after being trimmed by new farrier,I'd be making a beeline to get those hind shoes pulled off and someone else out to shoe my horse.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Fence2Fence View Post
          Having learned this the hard way, I'd get to the bottom of this quick. I bought a lovely little guy about five years ago who drug his back toes. Everyone blamed it on him being lazy/weak stifles.
          Negative coffin bone angles can make the stifles very sore.

          Comment


          • #6
            Yeah...poor guy was really sore...and sore all over. During this time I had the chiropractor out and the poor horse was even sore in his gluts. From what I understand, that's indicative of being sore in the stifles and hocks.

            From what the farrier is telling me, the body soreness/NQR-ness and the distinct issues with the hocks, is directly related to shoeing issues (negative palmer angle).

            He is moving so much better, and while I'm only riding him very lightly, he has a new motor. And just from his general attitude, he's much happier.

            Dragging toes may look benign, but it's a big deal.

            Comment


            • #7
              Pictures of the hinds would help

              Comment


              • #8
                My first thought also was negative plantar angles. I would get radiographs to know for sure.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Got it!

                  Thanks, everyone. I am going to get in touch w/ the vet and a different farrier today--and check on the negative palmar angle theory. That sounds like it may be the cause. Will repost soon and let everyone know what the result is.
                  Last edited by Pretzels; Jun. 3, 2009, 11:41 AM. Reason: needed to reply to all

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If your current farrier is in fact very reputable as you said, then they would probably jump at the chance to see the x-rays and work on the problem with you. If an owner was concerned about a problem to the point of contacting a vet I would much rather be involved, even if previously it hadn't seemed like an issue to me. Give your current guy the benefit of the doubt instead of running off to someone else immediately.

                    When you have current x-rays showing negative palmar angles in your hand and your current farrier refuses to address them...THEN you have a problem that requires finding a new farrier. Jumping ship at the first sign of a possible, internet-diagnosed problem will soon give you a reputation as an unreliable client.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would suggest really examining her for sacroiliac pain, hock soreness, etc...it could be that the farrier switch is simply coincidental. Don't hang your hat on it until you explore other potential causes
                      http://s31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...nibbystrot.jpg
                      http://s31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...t=IMGP0754.jpg

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Negative coffin bone angles in back can cause hock and SI soreness along with sore stifles. When looking for lameness, it's usually smart to start from the feet and work your way up.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          nappingonthejob
                          If an owner was concerned about a problem to the point of contacting a vet I would much rather be involved, even if previously it hadn't seemed like an issue to me. Give your current guy the benefit of the doubt instead of running off to someone else immediately.

                          That’s about as solid of advise one could get right there....when taking on new clients it sometimes takes a couple of shoeing cycles to really get to know the horse and client. Did you get your records from your old farrier to give to the new farrier? I would think the old farrier kept a chart on your horse to note changes and issues over the time he done the horse. The old farrier could have some notes in that chart that can help the new farrier out..not just for the toe dragging but future issues also.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by glaze View Post
                            nappingonthejob
                            If an owner was concerned about a problem to the point of contacting a vet I would much rather be involved, even if previously it hadn't seemed like an issue to me. Give your current guy the benefit of the doubt instead of running off to someone else immediately.

                            That’s about as solid of advise one could get right there....when taking on new clients it sometimes takes a couple of shoeing cycles to really get to know the horse and client. Did you get your records from your old farrier to give to the new farrier? I would think the old farrier kept a chart on your horse to note changes and issues over the time he done the horse. The old farrier could have some notes in that chart that can help the new farrier out..not just for the toe dragging but future issues also.
                            Good point Napping and Glaze. I agree, I definitely need to give the new farrier the benefit of the doubt. I am going to go back and check with him one more time. Thanks!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You can have a vet out without getting a new farrier involved. Besides which, Tom Bloomer is right, the horse may be sore from kicking...

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                The horse I now use to teach most of my lessons came to us with the worst hind-toe-dragging habit I'd ever seen. You could follow his path around the arena by the two deep, continuous lines he left behind him. And he would knock out the fillings in your teeth when you rode because the toe-dragging made him so unbelievably rough.

                                I photographed his feet to check balance and saw immediately that the farrier had both hind feet long on the medial side and long in the toe. This also caused quite a bit of flare on the lateral side due to the leverage the imbalances caused. The farrier said, "Quarter horses are just base-narrow and this horse isn't very good anyway, so we can't do anything about it." Oh really?

                                The owner agreed to let me start trimming him as a "case study" because they really didn't care how the horse went and didn't see any problem with the way he was. After I started trimming the horse, the toe-dragging problem magically disappeared within two 3-week trim cycles. It took 4 trim cycles to get rid of the flares. He's also MUCH more pleasant to ride!

                                If you want to photograph your horse's feet, it'll give you some valuable information. Stand your horse square on a hard, level surface. Put your camera right on the ground to take the photos because holding it any higher will distort what you're trying to see. Take a photo looking exactly at the middle of the toe. Take a lateral photo at 90-degrees. Take a photo looking exactly at the middle of the heel. Those three shots will give you a good start to see if something is out of balance. I've seen good examples of evaluation photos here (http://keithseeley.com/Founder-21.htm).

                                You're observant of your horse, and that's so important to noticing issues quickly so they can be fixed. Good luck!

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Possible Resolution/Toe Dragging

                                  Not sure if anyone is still following this post, but here is the latest update on our toe dragging scenario:

                                  Yesterday the mare was off for the 4th time in about 3 months...and also dragging her right rear toe severely every few steps--and did not want to put any weight on that leg. The vet came today and diagnosed her w/ stifle problems (due to her straight-legged conformation) and went ahead and blistered both legs.

                                  She is 8 years old and I have had her for 3 years. I know that this usually appears in younger horses--but the vet thought that it may have just appeared because she has always lived on flat terrain and has only recently been moved to a hilly environment. When we changed barns, she was getting less exercise--so her fitness level had also deteriorated.

                                  Keeping my fingers crossed that the injections help. After bringing her slowly back to work am also planning to keep her in better shape. Thanks again to everyone for their input.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    This may be left field, but is there any chance that the new farrier really 'cranked' the hind legs of your horse while he was working on them? And that (prolonged) tight position may have triggered a flare-up in her hind joints?

                                    It could be comparable to flexions the vets use when doing a lameness work-up.

                                    And does your horse now 'complain' about going up inclines as well?

                                    Keep us posted on your progress!

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      She's back to normal. Found a great chiropractor and changed to a new farrier who put half rounds on her and shortened her toes in the rear.

                                      Will be continuing our strengthening program and hope that keeps it at bay for awhile!

                                      Comment

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