Hi Jetson, pics would help, or are there some on the other thread? Fresh after a trim if poss. What're the basics? Age of horse, etc?
From researching I have a strong belief my friends horse has navicular. I realize, vet and xrays will tell us for sure
'Navicular syndrome' is effectively just unexplained heel pain. 'Navicular disease' is what the vets call it when these symptoms come with changes to the nav bone. There is not necessarily a correlation between lameness/unsoundness & bone changes though. Treating the problem - toe first impacts, weak heels, underrun or too low heels, toe first impacts, 'broken back' pastern axis, long toes, toe first impacts, etc - early enough can prevent the bony changes from happening. Horses can and have become sound with the right treatment after diagnoses of 'navicular disease'.
Did I mention toe first impacts are a big problem??
Because of the weak heels, he will want to be 'tippy toeing' to relieve the heel discomfort. But allowing him to stay on his toes will lead to further concussion & damage to the joints/bones & reduce bloodflow due to pressure on coronal and circumflex arteries and lack of circulation/function in the back of the foot. So IME whatever can get him *comfortably* using & building those weak heels is good. Allowing him to spend time on a bed of 'pea gravel' or such is very helpful.
other tips that anyone has for me?
Pete Ramey's site again. Dr Bowker's studies will make for a (heavy but) insightful read. Pad his heels as/when necessary to provide further *comfortable* stimulation & provide protection to encourage heel first impacts. Depending on terrain & state of feet, possibly leave the heel buttresses slightly longer than 'ideal' to provide a slight 'buffer zone'. Keep the toes right back. Free movement & lots of exercise *so long as the horse can be made comfortable enough to start using his heels.
old time farrier who I am sure will shoe him, wedge him etc and its winter here now, no reason we can't try to maintain him bare and get him comfortable.
Yes, I think you can indeed *generally* do better than a palliative of shoes. It's also something that tends to take a fair while to get worse. So it's well worth trying to treat the problem before resorting to palliative measures.