Sorry, I can't see much on those older pictures except for one and that one does, yes IMO, seem to be the same. As for riding him, sure go ahead. Switch farriers? Hmmm... why don't you talk to him first about it and see how you feel then. IMO, a farrier or vet or trainer etc. should be open to questions and constant learning. If that is the case with your farrier and you haven't had any issues with him to date, you may be well-advised to stay with him. Long heels are a common thing and definitely Sonny's are well within the "trim-back-to-shape" range. The other thing I noticed was his bars; if you want to know more about this search out barefoot trimming advice on the net. After you look at several different sites with many different people's opinions and photos, you'll get the idea of what we're talking about. In Europe there are accreditations for barefoot trimmers, but all I've seen in Canada is self-certifying which means doodly-squat.