Mark, while I must admit I splattered my monitor with Mountain Dew while reading your unicorn post, I am dismayed by how much you dismiss anyone but certified farriers, like they are the end all/ be all to horse foot care. Niche businesses emerge for the sole reason that there is a need for them. Many people, myself included, have been burned over and over again by certified experts claiming they know everything while nobody else knows squat and keep our horses moving poorly or worse, lame.
In the past week, I have been to two barns and seen two instances where the owner is being absolutely robbed blind by their $200 per shoeing certified farrier. The first horse has been lame for awhile. The farrier says it's not the feet and to check further up in the body. I took one look at the bottom of the feet and saw black, gooey, smelly nectrotic frogs from hell. The poor thing has sulcus thrush so deep in 3 of it's feet, I was able to stick a hoof pick almost 1 1/2" into the heel crack. The sole is so stretched forward, the frogs are like toothpicks. Please tell me how a highly trained certified professional farrier misses something that a first time horse owner saw within seconds??
Another horse I recently saw had heels so high, the frogs were easily 3" off the ground, small as my pinkie finger, and heels so contracted they looked like Chevy Chase's chin. Different farrier, but again, not cheap, knows it all, certified journeyman farrier. The owner has this horse on so many joint supplements because her horse is older (age 7!!!) and seems stiff all the time. Ya think??
I get that you dismiss the barefoot trimmers as hacks that best use their hoof knives for slicing tomatoes, but the claim that a knowledgeable farrier is the equivalent of angels singing...give me a break!
If you truly want to help out horse owners, get together with your expert buddies and devise a standard testing system where farriers must show certain skills and be graded on their work, so when we pick a name out of a hat, there is some data we have to go on other than their name and contact number.
You just have to see your distance...you don't have to like it.