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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
To bring everyone up to par on what is going on:

August 2008: Purchased new mare, she had shoes on. Shoes removed Sept 15, 2008 after one was lost in pasture and mare continued to be sound until around Dec. 17, 2008.

Dec. 2008, my mare was found lame after a suspected problem with the farrier. At 6 weeks after trimming her toe on the front feet was found to be too long. Farrier did not do good job with work, and abcess was found to be a possible problem also.

Jan. 2009, changed farriers, new one is still being used and does a great job! Lameness improved some, but still had problems.

Feb. 2009, Took mare to vet and found a slight turn in the toe that causes lameness.

Since Feb. 2009, she has had her feet trimmed every four weeks. Has good and bad weeks.

March 30, 2009. Trimmed feet again (at four weeks) and still some slight swelling found in tendons due to pressure and pain in the right front hoof. Farrier suggested "New Balance shoes" Total cost for front shoes and trimming would be $65 dollars. (Is this a good price?)

Question: What are these, how to they work, and how long would they last before we had to replace them?
 

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Well it sounds like a good price - that's what i pay for regular front shoes. All but one of my horses are bare and the one that's got the front shoes I tried barefoot for 6 years with no luck before I finally decided his constant pain and abscessing wasn't worth it. Since he's in shoes - he's fine. Fine bare in the winter, then come spring, as soon as it thawed, he got footsore and ouchy and *almost* abscessed so I had the farrier right out and within a few days of getting shoes on he was great!

I haven't heard of the New Balance shoes, but why not - if they are cheap and your farrier is a good one, then I'd be interested to see what happens.
 

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That's a fair price for the shoes, but really, it's just a different design that allows a shorter breakover. I'm not a fan of shoes, in general, but if you are going to shoe, these at least try to mimic natural breakover. My only gripe is that they tend to square the toe off so much with them, instead of the breakover going around the whole foot. Horses don't have square feet, they are round, so the shape is a little off, but overall, it's good shoe.
 

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I spoke with my farrier about the Natural Balance shoes after we looked at a horse for sale who was wearing them. Wonderful horse, but I wanted to take the shoes off to see what he was "really" like. Poor horse was breaking over far too soon and felt very out-of-balance to ride. Of course, I don't know if the shoes were placed too far back on his hooves, but I was not impressed! The day after we looked at him, we received a phone call from the owner. The horse had fractured his coffin bone while turned out in the arena. He was far from a hot horse, so wasn't doing any crazy antics when it happened. My fear is that the shoes were either not appropriate for this horse or were incorrectly placed and that was possibly the reason for his fracture. I would definitely be careful about using these shoes.
 

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Hmm, well, I would wonder if the horse didn't already have a weakness to make him able to break his coffin bone, or it was already injured. OF course, it could have been poor application on the farrier's side (and I can't believe I'm defending a shoe!). The trim has to be right before the shoe is applied, so it may not have mattered what kind of shoe was applied. NB shoes provide a quicker breakover, but otherwise act as a normal shoe, so I doubt it would contribute to a broken coffin bone. But the fact that he was moving strange for you when you looked at him, tells me he may have already had the injury and they may not have realized it for sure (or might have, who knows).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I may have caught the name wrong. It could more like "Natural Balance" shoes.

I have tried to keep her barefooted, but I am to the point that I don't want to continue to see her in pain. This is not being done as a quick fix but as giving her a chance to get the swelling out of the tendons. Riding season is just around the corner and I want to ride! Wanting to ride is not the reason for the shoes, It has come to the point that we have to change our tatics.
 

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My fiance's gelding was kept barefoot and after quite a few problems, the farrier put on the Natural Balance shoes. What a difference!

Here's a before and after shot of him getting the shoes on.






Those were put on 6/27/08. He lost a shoe in November so he had to have a new one put on, and then for the winter he got a new pair. Last friday he got another new set of shoes. He's on a 6-8 week schedule and they last quite a long time.

My fiance and I are very happy with the outcome and Gem seems to enjoy his new shoes too! I dont really know anything technical about them, but he just feels better when ridden, like more smooth.

It cost me around $100 to get him shod and trimmed (He only has the shoes on his fronts) so $65 seems like a really good deal!
 

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Well, a "slight turn in the toe" is fixed by the trimming, not what you nail on the foot, though it's hard to know what your vet meant. Turn, as in breaks over funny, or turn as in the coffin bone deviates from the leg in a specific manner? Either way, the trim is what is going to change how the foot heals. Boots could be used instead of shoes for protection while riding. I'm wondering why the trims haven't been providing more relief, unless the tendon is bowed, but that brings me back to the trim helping along the healing, or is it the DDFT and the navicular bone that's affected? In which case, shoes are definitly not the answer, and it just takes time and very careful trimming, shoes may mask it for a while, but aren't going to fix it. Hard to say.
Good luck in finding the right balance for your horse and hope you get to ride and enjoy her!
 
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