The message that removing the shoes in the winter to let the feet recover has always been recommended and age old.
I disagree with 3 points in this article:
A) that he'll be sore when you pull those shoes, but that's ok, he has to heal. If in pain, put the shoes back on. (well that just became a wasted effort)
Pain is both our enemies, he'll have cringing steps and promote nothing, he'll need Bute and possibly ulcers, heck, the pain alone will cause the ulcers, the risk of abscess just skyrocketed, he'll need a chiro from the cringe and mostly, I will not allow my horse to suffer needlessly. No mention of boots with pads, that are magic for promoting a healthy hoof and protecting it while it does. This advice to me, is no better than the barefoot hardheads that think if they turn pathological feet out on 90 acres to fend for itself, it will straighten out. Abusive thoughts.
Tell me how much you love your horse and if you could stand to see him like this...especially when its unnecessary. Pelvic tilt and standing under, too sore to play or keep up with the herd, too sore to even go over to the water to drink. A hoof will be what it needs to be. If its not being used properly and promoted properly, you are simply adding to the pathology and the damage from it. Now look up. Tell me his body is getting its much deserved rest as well.
B) Hoof Hardeners. No. Give me boots with pads again. I WILL NOT put formalin (better known as formaldehyde) on live tissue! It is for embalming dead tissue. Live sole is precious, why would I re-arrange its structure and kill it? Perfectly pickled feet to me! Ugh!
C)Taking a sore barefoot horse and keeping the ground under him soft, does not promote anything except thrush. Boots and pads again, hard surface and work that trim to promote better hoof health. Its called development.
If shoes are to be worn in the busy season, then down time means doing homework to promote. Lose the shoe, lose the pasture trim that went with it and get a barefoot trim, boot for bone protection and support and protection from abscesses that will slap you sideways. A horse that moves correctly with confidence is doing his homework. Cringing on pathology is getting no where.
Sorry, but I find this article archaic and un-informative.