Originally Posted by Jillyann
Hmm, I guess I kinda understand it now. But if riders ride on gravel and roads and all that enough to put shoes on there horse, then why do they put shoes on in the first place, because the horses feet will harden up the more they are worked on the harder ground. It just doesnt click. I think some people put shoes on just because.
In my mare's case, she was at our barn for about 4 years before I bought her and lived mostly in our rocky pastures. Still she always tiptoed across pavement, gravel and cinder. I had the farrier test her hooves and he said they were rock solid. Because of her tender feet we both decided to try front shoes for six weeks. That first day she got her shoes I was able to ride in the arena with cinderfooting without her being ouchy.
If my horse lived in a grass pasture and was ridden only on grass, I'd have kept her bareback. However, I like to work her in different places and on different types of footing. She is very happy with her shoes so we're keeping them.
Out of our 12 horses, only one has shoes on all four feet. Not only were his feet horrible to begin with, but when he started working regularly his hooves actually began to wear away. With shoes his feet have improved so much and he is never lame.
So yeah, some horses need shoes, some don't. I prefer barefoot, but what matters most is that your horse is comfortable and healthy with whatever you choose for him/her.