We are now working with our driving mare every weekend, and this is about her third week in a row that we have gotten some miles on her. She has been getting better and better, and absolutely loves driving. Once you get her hooked she is all peachy from there, and really likes to go. She isn't intirely perfect of course, and gets grumpy every once and a while, but for not being driven in years is doing great.
The last two times she has been out I was not out there it was just my father. She is currently barefoot and does most of her work on asphalt and concrete. (Once a week for about 45 mins.) Last weekend she was pretty wiley during the end and had a few fits where she apparently cantered on the road. (I do highly advise against this and when I am there I keep her slow trotting at the most.) But I was told that this last time she more wanted to walk and was a little stiff and sore. She usually wants to power on and do a big trot where ever she goes, so it was a bit unusual.
At this point should she be shod? I really don't want her to go lame and would like to get some easy work on her. But even if it is 15 degrees and windy my dad still wants to go driving, and will reguardless if I am there or not. So I don't get to really monitor how much she goes or how fast or on what terrain. She is driven on asphalt, and I don't know what effect that might have on her hooves. Her hooves are pretty strong, but I don't think I have ever seen a driving horse unshod. She is 20 years old and was at pasture for a few years before we got her. When we got her she was not shod, and hadn't been for a few years.
Also how much work should she be doing? I am afraid that my dad might be doing too much work with her to fast. It really isn't Long Slow Distance, and the terrain isn't soft. I really would like to see her do more work on soft ground at a walk/slow trot, but without others backing me up I am just a rambling kid and thusly will be ignored. But getting her fit over winter really isn't worth having her lame in the summer months and loosing all that time.
Any advice I could get would be great. I always want to do right by my horses, but sometimes it is just hard to get my point across unless I have facts or advice from experienced horse people to back me up.
I just uploaded a few pictures of her so you get an idea of her condition. They are all from relatively recent. (The one of her driving in the snow path is from two weeks ago, the rest are within two days.)