Dragging Toes: Lame, Lazy??? Help!!

I have owned by TB gelding for two years. He is 7 but was 5 when I bought him. He has dragged his back toes since we got him and had a full prepurchase done before we bought him. Everything short of an MRI. It is even on both sides and he does it at all gaits except maybe the gallop. In dressage we sometimes get called for it, never rung out but they talk to me after the test. He gets chiropracted regularly and we have been working on fitness like crazy. Backing up hills, over poles, trot sets on huge hills. I’m at my wits end with this and I am so sick of him looking lame. Has anyone else experienced this?

How’s his farrier work?

Also, how is he built? We had our vet out yesterday for what we suspected was stifles: he was toe dragging a bit and wearing his feet in an interesting way. Vet pointed out that for a fairly big bodied horse, he is actually very base narrow. It seems most evident at the walk; at the trot he moves out and swings his legs wider and more correctly. So conformation issues may be at play.

Know you said you’ve tried all the vet stuff, but here’s what we’re doing: loading dose and 10 days of previcox to see if it improves (implying a possible pain issue somewhere). If there’s any inflammation anywhere, the previcox should knock it down and after he’s gotten off it we can see if either a. it fixed the problem, if he’s just been sore and inflamed from tweaking himself or something, or b. the issues come back, which would indicate that there’s some ongoing pain or issue there that we need to address.

Good luck!

My OTTB used to drag his back toes something awful. We always thought it was a hind end lameness issue. Turns out he has Pedal Osteitis. Put him in heart bar shoes (front feet) with pour in pads, corrected the angle of his front feet and he’s been good to go ever since. He now only has regular bar shoes and no pads. Just a thought!


He needs his feet done currently. I’m at school and he’s where I’m going to be for the summer so I can’t handle everything myself unfortunately. This has been going on since I bought him and he’s had nothing but the best farrier work so it’s not his feet (I wish it were). He’s long and narrow typical TB around 16.2 but pretty well put together. It’s just all maddening.

Just a thought, but sometimes what you think is the best farrier work, is not always what the horse might need. It never hurts to get another opinion and have your vet and farrier work together with xrays if you think that’s where the problem might be.
For a long-standing issue, it helps to try something outside of what you’ve always done.

Have they done x-rays of his feet? That would show the pedal osteitis.

I’m having his prepurchase xrays sent over to Rood and Riddle for a second opinion. He got full body xrays I believe but if it persists I am going to take him to R&R to get an MRI done or xrays or whatever needs to get done. Thank yall! The Pedal Osteitis is definitely something I’ll look into because I do not want him to go septic on me.

Great - best of luck!

I have a morgan mare that has dragged her back feet since she was 18 months old. Always even, although now at 16 she will sometimes start out a smidge stiff to one side or the other if she had a hard ride the day before, but she works out of it.

the key with her is to make her do a strong working trot. She’s extremely lazy and happy as a clam to plod along dragging her feet.

Does he walk and trot like he has somewhere to go, or does he lack energy?

Did he do it when you tried him out before buying him? Did he do it with his previous owner?

A friend’s horse would drag toes when she needed her hocks injected. Might be something to consider.

My tb does that too but not the extent that I get comments in dressage. You can see the wear on the toes and he’s also been worked up extensively.

My theory is its a combo of being born on a pancake flat farm and getting too fat when he was a foal - he was born on the rescue facility- and my suspicion that he has a tendency to tie up. If he doesnt work every day he gets very stiff and slow when put back into work . If he’s worked 6 days a week he gets more energetic. I also make his last day before rest and his first day back to work easy ones.

You can ask the vet and see if hypp is something they think they should rule out

If its not that it may be fibrosis from an old casting injury either in the hip muscles themselves or the back. Or he could be a wobbler

If you go to Rood and Riddle, ask for Dr. Raul Bras. He is one of the podiatry Vets. At one time, I was trailering down every 4 weeks for him to trim Tess. I think very highly of his opinion.

When Tess had her suspensory issue, Dr. Hopper looked at Tess. Dr. Chris Newton is good for lameness issues, too. Dr. Garrett did all of her ultrasound workups.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do! Jingles for a fixable answer!