BO called and said she took a stone from the outer edge of his hoof. He was so sore he didnt even want to move, I soaked it and he did seem better after that.
If there is a space or the hoof is soft enough that gravel can get jammed into the white line, that's a problem for starters. Sounds likely either that gravel or a stone bruise or such has caused an abscess. Is he still sore now or over it? If still lame, soaking in epsom salts can help, by softening the horn, reducing swelling & drawing infection. I wouldn't force a lame horse to walk, but I wouldn't lock him up & prevent it either - the more exercise the better generally, so long as it's not over gravel or such to risk further bruising/damage.
He has always been somewhat sensitive but seems so much worse since the last trim. ....It just seems since he does well with the boots that it has to be the trim and then the rock just made it unbearable.
Of course it could be the trim. You've used the same farriers for some time & he's usually sorer post trim or not? How frequently does he get trimmed? Is there usually space for gravel between sole & horn or is this new? If not new, is the farrier addressing the separation?
But the second statement you made above doesn't add up to me. You seem to be saying because he does well with protection, that means that the trim must be at fault if he doesn't do well without. If I were into pedicures & wearing shoes, if I then took off my shoes & ran barefoot, I wouldn't think it was the most rational conclusion that my pedicurist must be at fault because I got sore feet. Especially 2 weeks later.
A comment was made why did I take the boots off and ride him without for the last leg of the trip. There was no more gravel spots when I took them
Gravel's not the only place protection may be necessary. Depending on the state of his feet & the environment he lives vs the ground he was on, any hard ground could be too much for him. And any gravel - be it driveway or elsewhere could be a problem. 'Seedy toe' infection in the separated 'white line' & other mechanical stresses could also have caused the lameness & suspected abscess even in absence of gravel & bruising. Without pics & more info can only speculate.
It's probably too late for pic's isn't it since its been 3 weeks I think. He has had shoes a couple years ago before he bowed his tendon, I just really wanted to keep him barefoot..as I hear it is better for the horses hooves and because of the exspense.
Too late to tell if the farrier pared sole or frog unnecessarily which may have caused him to be sore. Pics immediately post trim are necessary for that sort of thing. But not too late for pics at all if you want some specific opinions.
I personally do think shoeless(not nec always bare, depending on state of feet, etc) is definitely *generally* better for the horse. But while I'm all for it, I think it's important to make an informed decision about it & weigh up the pros & cons & alternatives of either, as well as understand the principles & factors that effect soundness, so you can be proactive - because it's not at all just a matter of whether the horse is shod or not, getting a good trimmer. On the note of expense, yes, depending on how much you pay for a trim in your area, it can indeed be cheaper, but that shouldn't be the deciding factor, as the wrong 'cheaper' choices can ultimately be much more expensive when they cause things to go awry.
So interested to see some pics & more info(diet, etc) if you want to share.