I want what is best for my horse. I do not care about dogmas or camps or rants. I absolutely understand that what works for some horses doesn't work for others. I want to make the best, most informed decision I can for my guy, based on research (often contradictory : /), professional opinion, anecdotal evidence from other horse owners like myself, and, of course, from my horse himself.
I agree that there is compelling research in BOTH camps in this case, hence why it is such a volatile debate. If there was one obvious answer, no one would be passionately arguing about this. At the end of the day, the research for barefoot was slightly more compelling, so I decided to try it. I have been explicit, though, about my horse's comfort and welfare trumping any ideals or values about being barefoot.
However, I do not want to abandon an experiment in less than a month if time is truly a factor that will make a difference. One thing my farrier said that stuck with me was, "The barefoot people will tolerate a surprising amount of lameness." He's not okay with that, nor am I (nor is my horse!). He is both a certified farrier and barefoot trimmer. He does both, depending on the horse's needs. Anyways, I'd love to see any facts and studies debunking the benefits I cited above. I will remain a student of the horse, and a student of my horse.