Hi there, Its quite a shock isn't it when you get a diagnosis of Navicular.I'm in the same position with my 12 year old mare. She was diagnosed in April and I thought about going barefoot too, particularly as she is dangerous to shoe and needs a vet present at the moment to sedate her. Opinions from the vet, surgeon and remedial farrier were very much against her going barefoot.Working from the xrays on his laptop, my farrier has shod her and since treatment began she has been sound and happy. I'm riding her in straight lines, hacking only at present, no schooling, the plan is to increase her workload gradually and see how she manages. She has had two steriod injections into the joint, though, this may have to be repeated at some stage, it will be done spareingly in order to keep it effectiveness. She also has a supplement for her joints and I've put her on grass livery so she doesn't have restricted turnout during the winter. My hope, she will be able to be managed well enough to keep working for a long as possible. Some friends have horses with navicular that have had another 14 years + of ridden work, though much depends on each particular case.
Like you, I'm learning as I go along as I've never had a horse with NS before, so will watching this thread with interest. I'm open to all ideas and experiences.