Interesting debate on correct shoeing continues and useful summary of some new work in the states is below, I will expand on this thread in good time 😉
The crux of the concept is that true sole contact is required for normal hoof mechanics and health. When a horse stands on any conformable surface– river rock, shavings, conformable footing– it achieves normal perfusion.
This process is impeded by wearing shoes, which minimize sole contact on some surfaces and change hoof mechanics at any rate. In the wild, a horse would have hoof pack, which can mediate sole contact on less conformable surfaces, like hard sand or rock. But he can show dramatic difference in perfusion by placing a washcloth under one foot– that amount of conformability on a hard surface is enough to stimulate the solar mechanoreceptors.
So if you must be shod, hoof pack and pads are the way to go. The difference in full perfusion and impeded perfusion is A-V anastomoses, as I understand it– Bob will happily talk to anyone further. The long term effects of poor mechanics and impeded perfusion is osteopenia of the pedal bone, which we have shown by simple measurements of the mineral content of specimens. Osteopenia/osteoporosis can be triggered by poor perfusion– bone is lost due to lack of nutrients to support it
Note these are not my personal views just points from a very interesting debate and my own horse is crippled without shoes so we still have lots to learn 😉
Paul Proctor MRCVS