Natural Balance Shoes/Farriers - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 02-04-2013, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Natural Balance Shoes/Farriers

I am looking to hear opinions about the Natural Balance Shoes and the squaring of toes. I have read both, the good and the bad. My old farrier was a Natural Balance Farrier, my current farrier hates them.
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post #2 of 14 Old 02-04-2013, 09:26 PM
Green Broke
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I think they're a waste of money, personally. I don't shoe (only trim), but while I was learning, I watched many other farriers square a toe of a regular shoe in 2 minutes..much cheaper than buying the NB shoes and possibly having an overly squared toe on the shoe, in which case you have to fix it anyway.

Squaring a toe isn't bad, but I agree with your current farrier of the shoe itself.
Just to emphasise..waste of money, lol.
I could probably square off a regular shoe in 5 minutes without ever having touched an anvil or hammer.
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post #3 of 14 Old 02-04-2013, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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I started this thread because it had been mentioned to me about squaring off the hind toes of my pinto mare. I had always gone along with the breakover stuff, thinking it made some sense. Then I read the following article, which put the opposite perspective on the whole thing.

Squaring of the toes in horses

I found the 'break over stress' section interesting.

So, now I'm interested in the whole thing all over again.
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post #4 of 14 Old 02-04-2013, 11:05 PM
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Well, I went to the website.......not so sure this gentleman is very creditable, sorry. He's got a couple of points, but that's about it.
The proper breakover cannot be achieved by just chopping off the toe or squaring a shoe. There is a lot more to it.
Squaring the hind toes is done as a first step, before surgery, blistering etc, in a case of upward fixation of the patella/ locking stifles. Worked for my horse
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post #5 of 14 Old 02-04-2013, 11:29 PM
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I use steel NB shoes on the front of both of my walkers, no complaints, they arnt more expensive, and the toes arnt Squared off. They also provide a bit more sole coverage. And no you cant square the toe of a regular shoe and end up with the same thing. I think some people are misinformed and forming opinions of something they dont know about or saw improperly put on.
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post #6 of 14 Old 02-04-2013, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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I wasn't trying to glorify the writer of the article...just see the opposite point of view from my original thoughts. I read the same type of thing on the BWFA website and others as well. After listening to my farrier today, he made some very valid points. So, since I've been on both sides of the fence now, I am interested in hearing others' points of view too.

Thanks everyone!
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post #7 of 14 Old 02-04-2013, 11:47 PM
Green Broke
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I put 1000 miles on gravel and rocky terrain last year on NB shoes with out issue. A couple times I wore them off running on crush and run roads in 4 weeks. I ride pretty hard. I trust my farrier, and he isnt a one size fits all guy. has all different shoes for different uses, he also advocates barefoot or boots depending on situation. For my horses and the terrain, speed and distance I ride he likes the steel NB shaped shoes.
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post #8 of 14 Old 02-05-2013, 12:37 AM
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A good hoof care provider will do what is necessary for the horse. Some horses absolutely do better and move easier with a heavier rolled toe. You can also use a squared toe to help a horse that needs to grow out a distorted hoof capsule barefoot and still keep him sound. I personally dont use a squared toe forever tho. I like to shape the foot as it grows in healthier and I dont want a foot with wonky pillars like some I have seen that wore a 4 point trim all their lives. As with everything, it depends. Id submit that the negatives in the article and the examples shown are all a product of poorly applied knowledge, not square toes or NB shoes.
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Last edited by Trinity3205; 02-05-2013 at 12:40 AM.
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-05-2013, 04:06 AM
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NB shoes are generally to be used for rehabbing, short term, not as a 'general purpose' shoe.

NB shoes are less able to be shaped than regular steel

Should the hooves need to be 'corrected' from having long toes, even if 'squaring' is also deemed necessary, this can be done bare or with regular shoes.

Horses don't naturally have square toes(NB aren't 'square' but they do have corners, which horses don't) & aren't always symmetrical in their movement & don't always travel just in straight lines.

I've heard it said by a couple of good farriers(can't speak from experience, don't know why) that long term use of them causes more contraction than regular shoes.
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Last edited by loosie; 02-05-2013 at 04:11 AM.
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post #10 of 14 Old 02-05-2013, 08:37 AM
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my horse is currently wearing NB shoes at the advice of my farrier who is not into fads or putting NB shoes on all horses. they have worked very well on her. i have never heard of them being temporary.

my gelding on the other hand, an old farrier put NB shoes on him and he was dead lame until they were pulled off.

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