Originally Posted by Saddlebag
Why do you want shoes on your horse? It will build a stronger hoof if allowed to go barefoot.
At my mom's house she was really tender footed because her pasture was littered with rocks (from a local rock quarry... it's a long story), and she hated walking over the gravel driveway, and would act like a cripple when she stepped on one. I know she's just being a drama queen, but I didn't feel like dealing with toughening her hoof up so I just kept shoes on her front feet. And she seemed happier when she had them on-- she used to be a show horse, so maybe she was just used to it. IDK. Horse's are weird.
But now that I've moved to a better pasture (and out of my mom's house), I've been letting her go barefoot. The only reason I put shoes on this last visit is because I was taking her on a long trail ride, and didn't want to take any chances of her hurting herself (or acting like she was hurt). But the farrier and I both agreed that it's time to just leave the shoes off for good, since it's been so dry down here and her feet just suck (he loves my pony's feet... why can't my mare have great little pony feet!?) He suggested getting some boots for her front feet since they'll pay for themselves by not getting her shod so often.
I've also heard about adding gelatin to their feed to help with their feet, but I figured putting something on the outside couldn't hurt. Plus, there was a $2 manufacturer's coupon at the store for Farnam's stuff.