I was given some really great links by DD to Pete Ramey's website and some of his articles. I read through one in particular on navicular syndrome, which is what the Vet says Sassy has. It was very interesting and comes to me from what seems to be a very sound concept. There seems to be data to back it up.
Basically it says that Navicular is not a disease but a symptom of an issue that can be healed if the hoof is trimmed properly allowing the digital cushions to heal so that the horse is comfortable landing heel first. It says that a horse that is landing heal first can have deterioration of the navicular bone and never even feel it. This is the complete opposite of what the vet told me. He says the deterioration is what causes her to land toe first, when new research shows that it is the landing toe first which causes the deterioration. I guess it is the age old question, which came first, the chicken or the egg.
Here is the link to that article http://hoofrehab.com/hoof%20articles%20by%20Pete%20Ramey.htm for the more technical and accurate version of that.
He also advocates the use of the Easyboot Epics with pads.
I wondered what the difference is between using the clogs, (which are rasped to give her the "wedge type support") and the pads which to me seems like they are cut to do the same thing.
http://hoofrehab.com/bootarticle.htm Link to his article on boots as well.
I guess there is a difference in what they are designed to do. I don't fully understand it yet, but will go back and read a little slower so that I do.
So this is all great information, except for one small problem. Pete Ramey is on the other side of the continent. His students are AHA certified, my current farrier for Sassy is ELPO certified. 2 Different camps dealing with the same things, but with different methods. Some of it seems to overlap but not all of it. Would you believe that there is not a single AHA or ELPO certified farrier in the state of WY. Well no I take that back, there are 2 ELPO farriers, but no certified lameness experts.
As I sit here and read through what I have found, or rather what was given to me, I feel like someone has put a big fat chocolate cake in front of me, topped with Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, and said you can look, and you can smell it, but you can't have it. Key word here being "I feel".
Realistically though, that is not how it is. These are my horses, and my money that is paying for the help that I am asking for. So I should be able to say to either one of my farriers, "This is what I want.", right? The problem up till now has been that I did not know what I wanted. I still am not positive, but I am learning.
What I do know is that I'm sick of jumping from one thing to another without fully understanding what I am looking for. It is no longer enough to just say, "fix her." I need to be clear on what I want, and exactly what my expectations are. Eventually I'd like to be to the point where I can do my own trims, but that is going to take time, and Sassy doesn't really have a whole lot of that.
I started thinking about Mark Keil. I first met him when I needed special shoes for Sassy when she had the chipped coffin bone. He came and he did exactly what I asked for, he never questioned anything, he just did as he was told. If something wasn't right (by my vets standards) I called him up and he came out and fixed it at no charge. Then he came again to tweek it because she was very uncomfortable, and one more time to remove the shoes. Again, not once did he ever offer an opinion, he only asked what I wanted. He trimmed my other horses at times, and I was never unhappy with what he did. I went back to using Jay because he was cheaper for me, but in truth they trim about the same. When Jay was no longer available, I went back to Mark.
I do recall that the first time we met I asked him if he did "Natural Balance" trimming. I can't even recall what his answer was. (because my memory sucks) He did take a look at Sassy's clogs, but never offered an opinion. Never said a word. I was so happy that she wasn't limping, I never bothered to ask what he thought. I was too busy running on and on about how amazing it was! (ugh at that mental image)
I wonder how many times people listen to me run on and on about stuff and think, "What a fricking idiot!"
Probably more than I care to know.
Anyway, I have noticed that about Mark, he doesn't offer up much unless asked. He just does his job and gets his money and moves on. Probably a smart tactic to have in a small town like Casper. I like Mark, I like how he trains my horse,(and me) I like how he trims, he is a great guy and a true gentleman. But you know what? He has never done a barefoot trim on Sassy. Not once. Why? Because I never asked him too. I never once asked him, "Hey Mark, what would you do with a horse for navicular?"
I like the other farrier too, Steve Foxworth. He answered my questions, looked for solutions, and he did ask what I wanted, but my answer was "I dunno, fix her."
So now I see the treatment I think I want to follow. I like the stuff I am reading and learning. I will continue to learn more until I can do. But why do I feel like I shouldn't be allowed to say what it is I want? Why am I afraid to say, "Hey Steve, I want to follow a treatment like Pete Ramey's for this mare, can you do that?" Whats the worst he can do, say no? Get his feelings hurt? I guess, I'm afraid of seeming ungrateful, even though I am not ungrateful. What I am is smart enough to see that she is hurting, and I don't want her to hurt. My horse, my money, right? (well whats left of it)
I wonder what the answer would be if I asked Mark to help me with a treatment as described in that article? (I should clarify, not just that article. The more I read the more I find with similar treatment plans)
I guess what I am finally coming to realize, is that it is up to me to know what my horses need. Of course I won't always know everything, but I need to know more. I need to know enough to be able to speak up and say, "I want you to do this." If I don't get to that point, I will always be at everyone else's mercy and will continue to deal with this complete and total frustration.