So today I wrapped her all the way around. Went out and Andrea came out to "harass" me - and I was thrilled for it! We worked with no contact on her at all, and focused on a dropped head. But the toes were dragging, dragging. And after I got off, we noticed something we hadn't really noticed before: Her toes are incredibly worn down on the back. Agh!
Obviously this could become a big issue. Andrea mentioned we might need shoes with toe clips; but I'm not ready to throw shoes on yet. I'm very pro-barefoot. If I can fix this without them, I want to.
As an immediate and non-permanent fix, we considered bell boots. they won't cover the toe, but they might encourage her to lift.
She has way too much toe right now though, and I suspect that's the cause behind this dragging as of late. She was trimmed kind of funny from the start by the previous farrier, but here we are at the time for a new trim, and the feet are longer of course, thus this problem is arising because there was too much toe in the first place.
For now I'm going to encourage her to pick those feet up as much as I can and cross my fingers that a balanced trim will do well for her. I found an article about toe dragging in relation to an incorrect trim for the horse in question, and I was encouraged by it that this is fixable with a trim. I watched her in the pasture, and she doesn't drag them constantly. Every now and then she drags. Almost like she forgets she has that longer toe, and doesn't lift enough to compensate for it.
Best case scenario, that's the problem, just too much toe in the first place. Worst case scenario.
There are a lot of worst case scenarios; I don't want to go through them. Let's just think positive!
I might wrap her again tomorrow. Maybe in the back. But definitely in the front. For now, while I am not sure if the toe dragging is her need of a better trim, or a self-carriage issue, I want extra protection on those front legs because they're undoubtedly working harder.
Tomorrow we are going to do a lot of transitions, ground poles and cavaletti. Over and over and over again. My plans have shifted in light of this issue and I want to do anything to try to get her on that hind end and make her use it.
I also wonder if it might just be laziness? I believe we overcompensated for her lack of free choice hay, and she seems to have put on a few pounds. She's being backed off the amount she's been getting now, and Andrea mentioned maybe putting her on some all purpose with less fat than the Safe Choice. It could well be that she's just feeling those extra pounds. She's definitely been lazy in her transitions, which was definitely not her style a week or two ago. I don't think that's the cause of the toe dragging *entirely*. The toe dragging has been an issue for a couple of weeks now, but progressing more (the closer to trim time...hmmm?). Before the transitions got lazy.
Perhaps it's all linked. She gained some weight and feels lazy now and her toes are too long, further encouraging her to not pick up her feet. Would make sense.
Not to mention it's been FREEZING the past few days, and even I feel so cold and stiff I don't want to work. I usually have a good post on me at the trot, but Andrea had to keep telling me to post out of the saddle more. I couldn't feel my face!
The more I research on various causes of toe dragging, the more I'm thinking it's just the long toe and unbalanced feet. After all, she JUST had a PPE and everything was fine, and she has done nothing to cause injury to herself. Her workouts have not been hard enough to cause injury in the least - especially not as attentive as I have been to when she has exerted her energy for one session. So that's unlikely. Let us hope!