I know that there are some farriers that are on this forum. I was wondering if you guys could explain to me about Natural Balance shoes/shoeing. Have you used it?
I'm not a professional farrier, but I did take Farrier Science in college and have been shoeing (and now just trimming) my own horses for many years. I have never used Natural Balance shoes myself, but I always thought that if I ever went back to shoes, the natural balance was a good idea. (Currently I am keeping my guys barefoot and using Easyboots in the rocks).
My understanding is that Natural Balance brings the break over back to where is supposedly should be. That allows the horse to make a heel-first landing, the way a healthy, sound horse should. Toe-first landings (again, just to my understanding) can lead to navicular and other arthritic changes in the foot.
Take a look at the Natural Balance website & e-hoofcare.com for the theory behind it. Many horses develop run forward toes and that is part of the theory - to place the toe of the shoe back to where it - & 'breakover' should be.
I don't personally agree with the square toe or long term use of NB shoes. It appears used long term they may possibly promote more heel contraction than normal shoes. **This is only my opinion based on theory, as I've never personally dealt with these shoes myself except to remove them from some bad jobs - the type of shoe does not make the farriery necessarily any good!
I'm not saying your wrong, because I don't have any experience with these shoes myself, but why would Natural Balance lead to contracted hooves?
Shoes in general lead to contracted hooves (in my opinion) but if the horse is landing heel first with Natural Balance, why would that make contraction worse? Could it just be that these horses were put into Natural Balance to begin with due to hoof problems such as contraction? (a chicken or the egg senario?)
I like Natural Balance in theory, but have no experience with them. But I do think break over is important to a heel first landing. And Heel first landing is important to soundness. In theory anyway.