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Old 01-18-2010, 12:12 PM  
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Dragging hind feet

I have a 10 yr old QH gelding. He's great, loves to go, loves to jump, loves to have fun! But at the trot he drags his hind feet. Not very badly, not so much that he squares his toes (he's barefoot), but by the time his next trim rolls around you can see he's a little squared off. He has a great farrier and his feet are in good condition (good wall, no cracks, good frog mass). Last time she put a good roll on his back feet and that seems to be working . . . for the most part. I highly doubt it's a medical issue, he has full mobility to his back end, does turn on the forehand very easily, backs up, leg yields, and is learning turn on the haunches. He'll pick his feet up for ground poles, raised poles (up to 8-10"), and has no problem jumping. He doesn't trip out on trails or when riding in the field. He doesn't drag his feet at the walk or the canter. So I'm 99% convinced it's just laziness, but I'd like to hear everyone else's opinions. I'm willing to call the vet if necessary, but I really don't think it is. Oh and he's on a joint supplement (3/4 dose of smartflex repair). He picks up his feet fine for me and has no problem keeping them up. This wasn't always a problem. During the summer when we were in heavy work he wasn't dragging his feet at all.
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Old 01-18-2010, 12:18 PM  
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I rode one old girl who liked to do that .. she was just lazy though. Once I really got her warmed up and moving out.. she didnt drag her feet anymore.. It turns out she just was afraid of clipping her heels when she would reach under her self.. So I would put boots and wraps on her. It made her feel a lil more secure ..

I am just novice horse person, but to me, it sounds like just laziness.. Because if it goes away when he is really working.. He just needs the workout and to engage that back end a lil more..

Hopefully that is the problem..
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Old 01-18-2010, 12:21 PM  
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I hear ya - my QH gelding does this as well. He CAN pick up his feet, he just chooses not to. I think its partially conditioning and part lazyness. When I work him over ground poles, he always knocks them the first few times til he realizes he has to pick up his feet. Now I always warm him up over ground poles and then ride the poles randomly through our workouts so he doesn't forget.
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Old 01-18-2010, 12:24 PM  
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The QHs I've had experience with were notorious for leaning on the forehand. I would first consider it worthwhile to have a vet look him over to be 100% sure it's not a medical issue - for sure take a good hard look at his conformation and note any faults that can be making it difficult for him to balance on his hind end. Has he ever been able to balance on his hind end or is this a new development?

Medical/Confo issues aside, work on turn on the haunches, for that he MUST be balanced on his hind end (hence why turn on the forehand is so easy for him). Small serpentines, ground poles, raised poles, some low bounces could help as well. If there's a hill nearby, it would be a great place to warm up. Uphill movement forces them to use that hind end, as does downhill movement at a slow pace to restrict them from bombing down the hill. Also focus on using your own body to help him balance, leaning too far forward will encourage him to lean on the forehand.

As a small addition, and this is just IMO, with quarterhorses especially I'm careful to make sure they are thoroughly warmed up before jumping, and if they're quit heavy on the front end I try to go easy on the jumping until they have learned to use their hind end a bit more. Due to their stockhorse build they are just that much more prone to front end lameness issues if worked heavily on the forehand, especially if jumping as they land on their front legs with that much more force. Just something I always keep in mind
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Old 01-18-2010, 08:59 PM  
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It's a fairly new development....over the summer when he was in consistent work he never really dragged his feet. He's not heavy on his forehand, he rocks back on his haunches and moves out for me, then gets lazy and starts dragging his feet again. He's not your typically built heavy qh, he's lighter and more of an appendix build but still on the qh side of that, much sportier than foundation type. He didn't drag his feet today when I rode, he was excited because we were actually working and not just hacking around. I'm convinced it's laziness and boredom. But if the problem persists when he is consistently ridden or if he gets worse at all I'll be sure to put a call into the vet. This is our first winter without an indoor ring to ride in and I think he's just bored b/c we're not in heavy work. Thanks everyone!
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:56 PM  
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Sounds like that's your answer hopefully he gets his act together, they sure don't like it when their vacation comes to an end...
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Old 01-18-2010, 10:14 PM  
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My mare drags her hinds when walking and trotting, but its more severe when she walks. She doesn't have a lot of muscle in her hind end but she also has pain issues in her hocks/arthritis.
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Old 01-18-2010, 11:57 PM  
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The little qh horse I had did the same thing when I switched farriers. He was really good as a baby and two year old. Then my farrier quit so I got a new one and within a year he was dragging his feet and squaring them off with in 3-4 weeks of a trim (I usually trim every 8 weeks). I begged and pleaded to get my old farrier back and he agreed to do just my horse. The first time he came to do him he said that the horse is dragging his feet because the angle was off making the hoof break over later than it originally did. It wasn't a huge change but took about 3 or 4 trims to get it back to what it was before. My horse was lazy which didn't help and at a working trot didn't drag his feet but at a western pleasure type jog it was really bad and a real extended trot it was very noticable.

By saying she put a good roll or it I would guess that it shortened up his toe enough to let him break over faster which helped reduce the drag. Maybe something to think about!
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Old 01-19-2010, 03:33 AM  
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I would vary his training to make sure he has to be awake. There are different things you can do to change things up without requiring a lot of special arena stuff. That way you can see if he is indeed just being lazy or if there is something further going on.
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Old 01-19-2010, 04:27 AM  
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When we have a horse in whom we feel is being lazy about picking up their feet we use bell boots on them. It will usually make them pick their feet up and get those muscles moving. If the bell boots don't work it's time for us to call the vet as there is something happening that we're missing.

Good Luck
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Old 01-19-2010, 04:36 AM  
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Bells boots on the front and back ?
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:42 AM  
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...well like I said he wasn't dragging his feet when we were actively riding, not just hacking around, so I think that laziness is the answer. But that's interesting about your horse's angles, my guy needs very specific angles...and actually this didn't start until after I switched farriers, but this farrier is from the same business as the other one,y old farrier was the owner and the new one is just an employee. I will have to ask my farrier about that, it could be contributing to the problem.
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:00 AM  
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What is your horses confirmation like? I would guess that a higher hocked or straighter legged horse would have more of a tendency to drag thier back legs.

I have one that drags them unless we are going over poles, period. And acutally, he does fairly well in the hunter under saddle classes, mainly because he is so low to the ground (dragging lol). Nothing wrong with him, but he has pretty straight legs. His hocks aren't high, but I wouldn't consider them low, either. But he has been looked over for lameness several times in his life and no vet or chiro has seen his dragging as a problem... its fun to listen to on concrete lol....
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:26 AM  
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We had to switch to aluminum shoes for our horse. He is lazy and the regular shoes weight were causing him to trip so we changed to the lighter weight shoes and they have helped, he is still lazy and squares off his toes in the front but it is an improvement.
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Old 01-19-2010, 07:33 AM  
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I would suspect like the poster said above that its a conformation fault. Stifle issues also cause them to drag the back hooves which again goes to conformation


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Old 01-19-2010, 01:19 PM  
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He is a little high in the hock, nothing terrible. Had a vet check not to long ago and they said he had decent conformation. No stifle issues, he is just lazy. He has no problem picking up his feet when he wants to.
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