My horse, errr well ok technically pony (she's 14.1)
has always been barefoot her whole life. But when I got her 9 months ago, she went from being a pasture potato to training for eventing (slow transition, she only started learning to jump 3 months ago - I have not put undue stress on her for those wondering, we worked up to it!)
Anyway, she is now ridden probably about every other day so 4-5 times per week. We train dressage most days, with some jumping 1-3 times per week. It's all in an indoor sand arena or outdoor dirt/grass arena. We don't live in too rocky an area (northeast OH for those familiar), and we do go on trail sometimes (they are dirt trails). She doesn't go on crushed limestone trails or anything like that and we don't ride on the road. So my farrier told me that for now, she doesn't seem to need shoes but he said with all her training and showing recently she is "teetering on the edge" of needing front shoes.
I want to keep her barefoot if at all possible, but I certainly don't want her to get foot sore either and will put shoes on her if he says they are necessary at any point. BUT can anyone tell me what the signs are of a horse becoming foot sore? I'd like to know so I can watch out for them.
She walks differently on gravel (at shows sometimes we have to walk over some sections of it) versus grass, but she still walks over it. My farrier says I would know if she was foot sore, that she would refuse to walk over the gravel...but she's such a willing horse, I just want to know some other symptoms so I can keep an eye out...I certainly don't want her to be sore