If your horses stay on dirt, should they be shooed?
As a rule, no, whether on dirt or otherwise, but it depends on many factors whether they'll need *protection*. There are other alternatives to shoes & I think they're generally better ones.
Do shoes keep the hooves from chipping or splitting?
They can. I believe they can contribute to it too.
Do shoes help keep the hooves in good condition?
I don't believe so. They can keep them in usable condition though.
Don't mean to pick Casey, but you raise some points I feel it's important to give my opinion on...
Barefoot is way cheaper,
I don't believe it's a good idea to do it just because it's cheaper. Done without knowledge, it could also end up being way more expensive if you go the wrong way about it or don't consider the whole picture.
shoes they need to be replaced about every 4-6 weeks, but barefoot they can go 6-8 weeks, some even 10.
Yes, *depending*, *some* horses can go 6-8 weeks, but generally, whether shod or bare, the optimum trim cycle seems to be around 3-6 weeks IME.
Shod horses can't feel the ground, which means that they are
I don't think that's right, but I do think that feeling is likely reduced.
Check out the links in my signature for some more info & my opinion vv