Good for you for sticking to your guns. It can be really hard sometimes when you get those condescending looks
. I was trimming some horses at a boarding facility a couple of years ago, started with one, she LOVED the trims, and ended up doing several more, as the other boarders noticed. But the BO was old school and eventually convinced every one of those gals to put shoes back on their horses. One of the them said she wouldn't be allowed to keep her horse there barefoot and ride, as the BO said it was "cruel" . They really liked the facilities and the price, so they caved (oh, and did I mention the BO's son is the farrier she insisted they use?) :roll:
Facing relatives can be tough, I KNOW!!! My own Mom was "old school" too. Until I was able to fix the foundered pony for her, she wasn' t sure about it, either.
So, to deal with MIL, just tell you appreciate her concern, but that you really have done your homework and are sure that you are doing what's best for this mare, esp since 2 years of being barefoot should be evidence enough that this particular mare at least is faring well. (You don' t have to worry about convincing her that all horses are better off, just yours). Point out that she's not been bruised since you have had her, and that besides minor cosmetic issues there's been no problem at all.
You can tell her that if the mare ever goes lame in the future, you will "consider" the shoes again, and that might placate her enough to get her off your back.(even if it is just lip service) It might help if when the vet does the next round of routine vaccinations/pulling coggins test etc, that you ask what he thinks of your horse's feet. If you can get a vet to say they look great, that might have some clout with your MIL.
It's funny how if a horse just "stays sound" when you pull the shoes, it's not nearly as convincing as one that was crippled and about to be put down because shoes couldn't fix it, and barefoot was the last ditch effort before euthanasia, and it not only survives but recovers, THAT is suddenly more meaningful to the skeptics.So since your horse is sound already, you don't seem to be proving anything. But..over time, if it comes up, point out she's STILL sound, so apparently the lack of shoes isn't hurting her.
Oh, and the trims..minor chipping is not a big deal occasionally, esp if it's been really wet in your area, but shouldn't happen every time, and the turning foot-I would be concerned that it's just now turning after a couple of years. If she were just out of shoes, I can see "waiting to see" what's going on, but in this case, trimmer should be a tad more pro-active since it's not the norm for this mare (2 or more years is plenty of time to see that the leg isn't normally turned). So next trim it should be remedied, IMO or determined WHY it's changing.