Haven't read your whole blog, but just wanted to add
and say I did the same with my oldie and that was a retired horse! Took her shoes off as she was retired even though my vet did say her knee arthritis would be worse without her natural balance shoes. I disagreed and thought she "must" be better with less impact etc.... I tried for a decent length of time and whilst she coped, she was miserable walking to and from the field and went down hill quite a lot with her knee arthritis - which I had thought was mild
Popped her front shoes back on and she was instantly happier and has improved massively to the extent I might long rein her in the summer and take her out walking. Not sure about riding as she has back end issues which I don't want to aggravate, but will see.
Anyway, do what you feel is right. I also put the same mare's shoes back on when she was still a fully functioning riding horse after 3 years barefoot where I did everything 100% by the book, but whilst she functioned, it was always a struggle and never ever regretted it.
To balance it up, my youngster has never had shoes and whilst I sometimes waver about putting fronts on (she's rising 7), my absolutely brilliant farrier is always very pro leaving them off "unless she shows she needs them".
These farriers are out there.