Originally Posted by Speed Racer
Not true. Anyone who isn't a 'barefoot uber alles' type knows that SOME horses can go barefoot and SOME cannot.
It's all about the HORSE, not the human and their personal conceits or opinions.
I don't know what 'uber alles' means, but Ghostwind didn't say all horses in all situations, and I agree with her. I took the 'not all owners' to mean it depends on management/environment that suits the owner & what the owner expects of the horse, not about conceits & opinions. When we're talking about a retired horse in a dirt paddock especially, I'd hazard a guess that it would be about 99.99% of horses that can/should be shoeless. Also, even if the horse can't be worked on terrian the owner chooses to work on without protection, boots will fit the bill in the vast majority of situations.
While I think comfort is very important, I don't think that is the only important factor at all, as shoes & some 'corrective' measures can indeed make a horse more comfortable, but they are palliative measures & this comfort can come at the expense of further damage.
Libra, in answer to what to expect & how long does it take, I echo others in saying it depends.... on so many factors. Your horse may or may not be perfectly fine bare in the paddock from day 1(hopefully, he doesn't have any major issues & will not be uncomfortable at all there) & it may be anywhere between now & never that his feet are healthy & calloused enough to do whatever you require of him in work without protection(but then, don't forget the boot option anyway). I think educating yourself is the best bet. Checking out the thread in my signature should help get you started.