Well, it's been three and a half weeks since I had shoes put on the Germ.
When they went on, all the shoes had a slight bumps where the nailheads sat in the "trough" of the shoe. These little "off-road studs" were less than 1/8th inch, but were very clearly there and providing traction. Bad cell phone photo below:
|Left fore, showing prominent nailheads.|
Today I looked hard at the shoes and realized that on the outside of the left hind and right fore, he has worn the nailheads smooth, and is actually now working on wearing the surface of the shoes themselves. I'm no expert, clearly, but this seems to suggest to me that his feet needed some protection. If the shoes weren't there to be wearing down, it would be his hooves.
|Left hind; outside nails worn flush with shoe; shoe starting to wear|
Now, why it's only the outsides of these feet... well, I'll have to get some advice and counsel on that. But this realization makes me feel like it was the right thing to do to protect his feet.
The primary difference in his "way of going" that I have noticed is his sudden and complete willingness this week to sit down on his hind legs and carry himself when we go down hills. He no longer carries himself halfway, then lets go to fall forward on the forehand and run out in a trot. He sits, carries himself, and walks with great control and dignity. It's pretty dang cool, and I have to credit it to the shoes. Yes, greater strength and balance overall, but I suspect the support in the hind legs has a lot to do with it.