I've never owned a horse who needed shoes, ever. It's not a problem for me to learn about it; I'm always forward leaning when it comes to understanding my horses and their needs. What threw me about this, though, is the skull-press of conflicting opinions. It's one of the hardest parts of owning a horse, I think. I only ever want to do what's right for my horses, but how can I know what that is when my skill-set is not infinite?
Backstory. I had a prepurchase exam done on Saxony. The vet who handled it detected something in Saxony's right rear pastern during the flex tests. She attributed it to a touch of arthritis. Nevertheless, I moved on and bought the sweet, sane girl. Several weeks ago my regular vet met Saxony, something I wrote about here.
During that visit, Dr. B mentioned that Saxony was slightly offset in her front left leg and that she paddled a bit. "Offset" and "paddling" were words new to me in the context of horses. Naturally, I pulped my brain to mush doing way too many internet searches in the following days, where wildly divergent opinions ranged from rendering plant prospect to Grand Prix Dressage candidate.
Information: 1, Education: 0
Here comes this new farrier, then, who bluntly informs me that Saxony needs shoes up front, that she may not have arthritis at all. And he seems to know his stuff, if only because I don't know his stuff.
Information: 2, Education: 0
All of it started me hamster-wheeling to the enth degree, swinging dizzily from I bought a lemon! to There's nothing this mare can't do! Yikes. I made some calls. The first was to another farrier, one who'd trimmed Saxony for her previous owner. I was hoping he'd give me a second opinion. "There's nothing wrong with that mare," he said. "No horse is perfect." I know that. I completely do know that. What I want is to not do anything to hurt Saxony or worsen her "condition," if she has one.
Information: 3, Education: 0
I called my vet and told her about the shoe-happy farrier. I told her about the other farrier. I jabbered about winging and paddling and defect and floating the heel. She was very kind to me. That's why we pay them the big bucks. "Let's take some X-rays and see what's there," she said. Bingo. I'd rather spend my money on education than a bottle of Loon-A-Way.