I have been riding an OTTB owned by my barn manager's sister, and have been focused on retraining him. He is barefoot, and was just about due for a trim when I started riding him (about mid may). They said that the farrier was going to be coming out later in the week and that since he often gets sore when ridden they would be putting front shoes on him. Well, that farrier ended up not being able to come out, then there was some trouble getting a hold of the other one, and it ended up being yesterday before someone finally showed up. I assumed that they had all been done, and I offered to pay the difference for the front shoes on Indy (the OTTB) but then I saw that he hadn't even been trimmed Turns out that his owner didn't want to/couldn't afford to spend the money having her horses trimmed, so she wants to do it herself. In her words, "anyone can trim a horse". I don't think she has any real experience at all with trimming, so I am going to pay for his trimming this time and I'll see how her mare's trim turns out. Ugh!
Anyway, the short story behind all of that is that he's not getting shoes anytime soon. I was willing to spend the difference for the shoes since I'd be the one riding him, but I can't justify doubling that price just because she doesn't want to pay for the farrier at all. I was told that he will get sore when being worked without shoes, but he seems to be ok for now. His stride seems short, but I don't know if that is because he's tenderfooted, unbalanced, or just doesn't have particularly great movement, but he has not been lame. However, I don't know how long that will last with regular riding that will increase in intensity. I would also like to ultimately be able to ride him on the road out back and on the levee, and I don't want the gravel he would encounter to wear his feet down to nothing. Should I consider investing in a pair of boots for him to use on gravelly days, or if he becomes sore with increasing work? If so, what would you recommend?
Also, what other ideas do you have as far as maintaining/improving the quality of his feet? It was recommended to me to buy some venice turpentine to apply to his soles, so I got some of that. I am trying to stay under the price of adding shoes, so I am looking for ideas that aren't really expensive in combination! For example, boots may have a fair bit of expense upfront, but are a one time purchase. The turpentine is not too pricey, but a hoof supplement would be a fairly high monthly cost!
I'm open to any ideas! I want to keep him comfortable and in good shape, but don't want to break the bank for someone else's horse!