[quote=DriftingShadow;1697123]We have been trying to correct SEVERELY constricted heels .....Drifter had been losing shoes every 2 weeks ... and the hoof wall immediately cracked. When the farrier came out the next day he said he wasn't comfortable putting shoes back on Drifter, that we needed to address his hoof wall issues and that going barefoot would probably be the best option for him right now. I was majorly skeptical, because Drifter has NEVER been sound when going barefoot. [quote]
Sounds like you might have a smart farrier there. All those problems are very good reasons, IMO to get his shoes off, at least until his feet can become healthier. But just because I think shoeless would be better for him, that's not to say I think all horses can cope with what we ask of them barefoot, let alone one with obviously unhealthy feet. You still need to protect his feet if/as necessary.
But have since discovered he was trimmed as if we were going to put shoes on,and then turned out barefoot and apparently that makes a huge difference). However, in order to toughen up his soles my farrier suggested I walk Drifter on the gravel/dirt road a distance of maybe 5 feet every day.
Yes, farriers often rasp the bottom of the foot flat, including into the sole if necessary. Also often routinely pare the sole & frog with a knife, all of which cause the horse to be more sensitive - as you'd be if somebody sliced the callouses off your soles & told you to go bare! But I've seen nice trimming without unnecessary invasion of the sole or frog by farriers that shoe, so I wouldn't say that's universally a 'trim to put shoes on'.
I disagree thoroughly with your farrier *for now* at least, on the subject of 'toughening up' on gravel. Your horse has weak, compromised hooves & it sounds like he needs them to become healthier before they can start coping with & benefitting from rough ground. Forcing the issue without protection may just lead to further problems such as stone bruises. Have you looked into hoof boots?
Am I blindly trusting someone who is telling me to go about this the wrong way?
As said, I think so re forcing him on gravel. Who knows without a lot more info - he may be completely on the money with everything else. But unfortunately there's no shortcut I know of to learning enough to make objective opinions rather than blind trust.