Thank you all for your replies. I really want to make the transition to barefoot. All of the boarders at the barn that have made the transition say it is well worth it and their horses have done great. I'm just worried that if he is so tender now...will he still be too tender later or is he just one of those horses that need shoes?? The call is hard to make. And I'm ready to start his schooling. We board north of Birmingham, AL at the end of the Appalachian Mtn. Chain. The ground is very rocky in some places. The round pen even has rocks (The second day I was there, I racked the entire round pen to clear the rocks, but more just kept coming up from the ground....wish they would get a load of dirt/sand) But anyways, that's really out of my control. The point is, he's ready to start his schooling and I'm not sure I can wait however long it takes to toughen up his feet. And then I don't even know if he will still be tender then. So, I'm really considering still putting on shoes (maybe just on the front). BUT, I would RATHER go barefoot since it would be cheaper and I wouldn't have to worry about him pulling shoes. This decision has really bugged me for the past couple of days. I would love to hear more opinions so I can maybe make up my mind! Thanks again!