I do not know really anything about shoes. My first horse has been barefoot all of his life, so I did not learn much about it. The second horse we got had shoes on her front feet because they were planning on taking her for a ride in some rocky, hilly terrain. Our third horse is a little Morgan that was used for riding and extensively as a trail horse. She has really nice little feet and I'm sure she has had shoes on at least once. Then our most recent horse has never been shod. She is not broke and isn't really on hard surfaces very often.
We are planning on doing more trail riding on dirt paths and the trail we have mapped out goes on roads a little bit, aswell. We would be riding them on it at least once a week and more often in summer, and I was wondering if they might need shoes for this sort of riding?
Also, over winter on the days where it gets in the negatives and blizzarding they will be in a barn that has a concrete floor. We will bed it down thickly so hopefully it will help but would they need shoes if they had to stand on concrete? It is a large area with two sides that have half-walls, so they are not completely sheltered from the elements, but a lot more than if they were huddling around their three sided shed in the pasture.
I really do not know what to do, so any advice is appreciated. If it matters, our pastures get really muddy whenever it rains. It snows ALOT in winter and spring. Spring is either snowy or muddy 90% of the time. I can imagine shoes would not stay on very well, but I do not know how else to protect their feet. Is there an alternative for shoeing? Just for trails and such?
~Do horses that ride on trails [packed dirt, fields, and roads] weekly need shoes?
~If a horse is housed somewhere with bedding on top and concrete underneath should it be shod?
~Is there an alternative to shoeing?
Sorry if I am asking a dumb question. I am sort of a dumb person when it comes to shoes. :S