Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Alberta, Canada
All the horses on the farm are barefoot as long as possible. One gelding has weak hooves and is shod all summer, but bare in the winter.
My arab has amazing feet, but I ride on sand and rocks a fair bit and i litteraly wear the feet off her in the summer, right down to sole. Her previous owner had her shod all year even when not ridden. I pulled her shoes this spring and have been riding barefoot up until next week, when she gets a set of shoes put on. I will shoe her untill the riding season slows down in september, then she will be barefoot again.
So I guess to answer your questions,
1) we've always done steel, except on the race horses. I've never seen it "change the way of going", they adapt to the extra weight easily. Kinda like a person putting on sneakers.
2) We do crazy miles on terrain most people wont ride in. We need shoes on our horses in the summer, but typically 9 months out of the year they are barefoot, no problems at all. Also half of the horses on the farm are ottb's, which are known for having terrible feet. We get them off the track, pull their shoes and give them a few weeks to get used to it and off we go. Havent had a horse that doesnt transition well from shod in the summer to barefoot in the winter in the last 10 years.