The stories remain the same. Even after over 40 years
I man by the name of Gordon Naysmilth rode from southern Africa to central Europe in the 1970's. He wrote about it. Interesting adventure that I'd never want to repeat, but I digress. Anyone who does long distance riding knows that weight is your enemy and he was going an extremely long distance. To make a long story short, against the advice and rantings of all the "equine experts" he opted to not have to carry loads of shoes for the horses and did the trip them all unshod. After completing the trip he said the person who ended up with the horse complained about the hoof being so hard the farrier had difficult time trimming them.
Color means nothing. My old white QH ended up with incredibly hard hoof after a lot of highway miles. Her feet were white. I was told by our vet and pretty much everyone outside of my extended family that she needed to be shod. We've never had any of our horses shod (at least after we owned them) and it always amazed me that even today there will be people who (and in some cases have known us for many years) will tell us that we need to shoe our horses. Especially when they see me riding down the road
. The fact that we've never had any foot problems with any horse (after recoving from any problem they came with in some cases) doesn't seem to matter
and some of my well meaning friends just can't resist telling me that it has to be done.
Some horses I'd gotten that were shod all there life had sore feet when they arrived to me (shoe removal was one of my requirements). I guess it's a case of how long you're willing to deal with them being unridable and how much time you have to work with them to fix it. Admittedly it can take many months to fix. I believe having softer ground for them to start recovering on has helped in those cases. They're feet should get back to what would be normal before you can start working on harder ground. We have soft, sandy soil so that system has worked well for the people in my family. 6 months and longer to recover is not unheard of, but then some of that time for me has been spent pulling heels back and fixing constricted heels (or a radom issue with nail hole crack). Because of the time it takes I no longer deal with getting horses that are older and shod all their life. A younger horse who hasn't spent as many years in shoes is much less work. Even better if they were only shod part of the year anyway. Not much work if any then
. Straight to toughening.
If you're going to make a lot of hard demands on a horses foot before it's ready then I guess shoes might be the way to go although I'd probably try boots. A foot that's not ready for the demands you want to make on it can be damaged and then you're set back beyond where you started. I've never had a horse where I'd been in that big a hurry, so there was always time to get them conditioned. After that the sky was the limit. And when you ride long distances it's great never having to worry about a loose shoe or losing one. Never have to carry shoes or need a farrier.