Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: The land of Enchantment
Ultimately the rider is going to decide how their horse is shod, not necessarily what is optimum for that specific horse and rider. There is the hoof, the terrain, the farrier or trimmer's talent, and the common sense of the rider that "play into" the equation. Decisions made by the owner factor into "energy spent" for barefoot and "best for the horse" since the hoof is ever changing. For example, whether it is even necessary to boot up would depend on the condition of the specific horse's hoof and the terrain and distance it will traverse. If a person does not consider these factors each time they saddle up, they could either waste their energy booting up, or conversely, harm their horse by not doing so. In which case - iron shoes might be what is best for a specific horse and rider. Then, there is the talent of the specific farrier/person that actually does the shoeing or trimming for a given horse to take into account.
I prefer barefoot. I ride booted over very hard rocky ground, and the hooves of my riding buddies shod horses look just fine, as do my horse's.
There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it.