I just recently bought an 11 year old Shire/Morgan gelding. According to his previous owners, he has been barefoot for the past 7 years (with a natural barefoot trimmer).. When they bought him as a 4 year old, his feet had pretty much been neglected. The man did his own trimming, but apparently not very often or very well, so he developed a crack in one hoof I've already asked about on here. The crack has not caused any problems since I've had him, so I'm no longer worried about that as long as his hooves are maintained.
Anyway, I recently had my (traditional) farrier out to put shoes on my horses since we're going trail riding over Labor Day Weekend and the terrain is a lot more rocky than at home. I didn't think to mention how large Doc's feet are and it ended up that my farrier didn't have shoes or nails in the correct size for him.. He said that he has good feet and it probably wouldn't be an issue at all to keep him barefoot.. He still wasn't due for a trim yet, so I didn't have that done since I wasn't getting shoes.
Anyway, I was just wondering about maintaining him. Getting him used to rockier terrain and such. He gets a little gimpy over gravel occasionally, but nothing like my mare. We only occasionally go riding on different terrain (mostly we just ride the ditches, hit the occasional gravel road, or do dirt paths), so is it even possible to keep them barefoot without them getting sore when we do go?
I've been curious about going barefoot for a while (or at least keeping Doc barefoot), but I don't even know where to start finding good information, so if you have any suggested links or reading, I'd appreciate it.. Keeping barefoot horses is not the norm where I am (my own farrier scoffs at it), so I guess I don't even know where to start.
Here's some pictures from the day I bought him.
And here are some that I just ran out to take. Sorry for the shadows covering everything.. ha