Our horse is barefoot and spends most of her time in the paddock and pasture. From the barn to the road there is a rocky driveway, the big construction rock, and is about 50-75 ft long, and from there there is a gravel road that goes about 1 block or so to a paved road. We've had our mare almost 3 months and we have been trying to take some occasional walks (leading only - no rider) down the road to help condition her hooves, so we think. My MIL (which is where we keep her) is VERY concerned about this because the horse is barefoot and she has been telling us that it is very painful for her and that she shouldn't be out on rocky areas without shoes. Now, when we are out on the gravel road we tend to go down the middle where there is the least amount of loose rock. She takes an "ouchy" step here and there, and yesterday she seemed a little tender at the end of our walk (not limping), but she was fine as soon as we got back to the barn.
I really just want whats best for our horse and I don't plan on putting shoes on her, but should I be out on the gravel road with her? It's not a far distance but I don't want to hurt her or give her stone bruises. Should I put boots on her to do this?