Please skim this article before reading this post :).
The above article weighs in on some of the intellectual issues with human feet/body issues and various unfixed orthotics. I wish, for the horse's sake, that we were at the same intellectual and data point with them as we are for humans. We could be, if we really wanted to be. What a shame we are not.
The wonderful content of this article simply addresses the current state of intellectual consideration and data on: bias in body construction or use and how unfixed orthotics may or may not help with that.
We gave up on fixed orthotics for humans long ago. Why? Because fixed orthotics cause more harm than good, period. Fixed, unnatural structure placed at the bottom of the limb is a disaster. The goal of human prosthetics and orthotics: energy absorbing design, natural body use. The goal of current equine hoof care? Are you kidding me? A metal rim at the bottom of the limb? A fixed wedge guaranteed to create abnormal body use?
In equines, currently, abnormal, unnatural hoof and body use is assumed to have medical benefit! Dysmorphism is assumed to have medical benefit! We gave up on these principals long ago with humans, because they do not work well, and we can, and have, done much, much better.
Why do these ideas persist? First, because vets must meet their clientele where they are at. So it is up to us, owners and researchers, to help them meet a clientele who will refuse fixed orthotics for every situation their horse might encounter with use and medical crises. Second, more money is made off of lame, than sound, animals, in equine veterinary medicine and farrier work. Let's help vets and hoof care providers of all stripes find a way to keep making their money building wellness and not tinkering with suboptimal lifestyle and design choices. Let's introduce the human, and humane, field of UNFIXED orthotics to the equine.
Horses: hoof boots (deformable): unfixed deformable orthotics: barefoot
Humans: shoes (deformable): unfixed deformable orthotics: barefoot
Within this spectrum for both species we are exploring the miracle of native design potential and the miracle of modern research/medicine! Let's live HERE!