The NGs had a lot going for them. They provided a nice wide base of protection for the hoof while still allowing the natural flexion of the heel bulbs. Gem seemed to move out really well in them and never slipped or missed a beat in all types of terrain (except for water since we never managed to find a water crossing while wearing them).
|Pete looking handsome|
There was one glaring issue that played heavily on my mind from the start though. My farrier charged $260 to put them on with 4 nails, a small amount of glue on the sides and packing.
Even had things worked out differently, it was highly unlikely that I could afford to keep her in a set long term. After the mini heart attack I had when he finished putting them on and told me the price, I told Dusty that I would most likely reset these ones and have to switch to steel. Only when I reset the ones I had with nails only because the side clips that he glues gets ruined after one time, he still charged me $190 and that was pulling her hinds and going barefoot in the back for the summer. Ouch. A reset wasn't really in the budget either apparently.
I was still plotting and planning a way to try to make it all work out financially when I went to the barn on Sunday and saw this
|The grand canyon does not belong in my horse's hoof. Ugh. Thankfully it was dry and no signs of thrush. The squeegee of packing out the back isn't too pretty either.|
It actually didn't surprise me which is kind of sad. I had a bad feeling during the last farrier visit. I know I am not a farrier and I do not proclaim to know more than a professional, but I do know my mare's hooves inside and out. I like to inspect the soles to make sure that the heels are taken down far enough each time and this became even more important to do when they were hidden under a shoe. This last time, he slapped the shoe on so fast that I didn't even realize it and when I asked about the heel he shrugged me off. I did manage to inspect the left foot and noted the extra heel and made him take it down.
When he was gone and I was sweeping up the aisle way, I noticed that while there was a decent sized pile of clipped and shaved hoof by her left front, there wasn't much of anything by the front right. I was worried that her heel had been left really high and that is not good.
I'm not going to fully blame the NG shoe for the above atrocity. I mostly blame the bad trim job although I think had she been in steel it wouldn't have propagated so badly. Since the NG allows for the natural flexion I believe that the high heel coupled with the flexion and the frog plate created a lot of friction between the heel bulbs thus causes a crevice to form.
Regardless, the shoe needed pulled and the hoof addressed. I shot a text with picture to farrier Sunday morning asking if this was a problem that needed to be addressed. The shoe had just been put on June 2nd. He never responded.
|Gem staring me down as I arrived at the barn|
I then texted my BO asking when her farrier would be out next. As luck would have it, he was due out the next day and I added her to the schedule to pull the shoe, look for issues, trim and put on a steel set. I didn't think I would make it out there in time, but work was a mess and I escaped early to head up. I got there after the shoes were pulled and the foot trimmed, but was able to inspect the feet really thoroughly. After the trim the crevasse was much, much shallower and he took off a crap ton of heel to get it even with the sole. It was almost embarrassing.
Would I try the NGs again? Yeah. I still love the theory and she moved well in them. I don't like the NGs paired with a bad trim and I don't like the price tag that came with them. I think the NGs are not as forgiving as steel and they weren't as easily shaped to the foot like a pair of hot shod steel shoes are. The summer will show if she does equally as well in steel as she did in the synthetic shoes or not. It cost me $80 to shoe the front and trim the back in comparison.
The farrier deals mostly with event horses although he at least knew what endurance was. He also put up with my million questions and even took a marker out to draw on the hoof to show me all the important lines he looks at. It was an interesting 2 hours.