Ok first off, let me start by saying I do NOT want this thread to become a debate between the barefoot and shoeing sides - please DO NOT come on here telling all of us that everyone MUST ALWAYS leave their horses barefoot or at the other extreme, MUST ALWAYS puts shoes on. We all know that horses, like us, are individuals and what works for one won't necessarily work for the next horse.
Alright, with that said...there are 3 items that I often see cited as "pro"s to BOTH sides - the only problem: they are the same 3 items. So I guess I'm trying to find the common ground/shred of truth in here. My horse has always been barefoot her entire life (she's 10 now) with NO issues. I've been Eventing with her for the past 3 years now barefoot, again with NO problems. Does that mean I think everyone can Event barefoot? Absolutely NOT! I'm lucky that my mare was blessed with rock hard feet with large, round bases! But here are the 3 things I see that are pro's supposedly on BOTH sides of the fence:
1. Better shock absorption (when jumping)
2. Better traction
3. Less issues with abscesses/stone bruises
Now that last one, #3 is a little bit easier for me to get why it applies to both sides -- with a horse like mine who doesn't have issues with abscesses and such, putting holes in her hooves unnecessarily could in fact CAUSE abscesses, so for her she's better off without them since she doesn't get them anyway. But for a horse who is prone to them, putting shoes on could actually REDUCE the likelihood of getting them, since it puts a "barrier" in place to protect the hooves.
But for #1 and #2, I don't see how they can work for BOTH.
For barefoot pertaining to #1 above, the way I understand it is that since the metal shoe is not there, the hoof wall can expand and contract freely, leading to better shock absorption. But anyone who knows shoes, can you explain how it also works the other way?
For barefoot pertaining to #2, the shoes can be more slippery esp in wet grass than the bare hoof (I'm not talking about studded shoes of course, which would obviously provide the best traction in wet grass, just talking about your regular run of the mill shoes).
Anyway, share your thoughts (remember, NO ABSOLUTES or I want this thread shut down, that is SUCH a pet peeve of mine!!) I'm just trying to get a well rounded opinion from those on both sides of the tracks :)