I'm a new horse owner. Always assumed horses needed shoes. So when I got my TWH 3 months ago one of the first things I did was get her shod. Everyone where I live shoes their horses. I've been told that it is necessary because of the "rocky terrain". However, I kinda wonder how much of it is just because "we've always done it that way." I've suggested leaving the horses barefoot to my husband and farrier, like my friends in other areas do, and they act like I'm crazy.
Most of where we ride has gravel or is just really rocky. The thing is, my horse is always kinda "clumsy". No falling, just stumbles. I don't know how much of it is because she's still getting used to being ridden and trail riding (she'd barely been ridden before I got her) or if the shoes make it worse. She often prefers to walk on the non-graveled ground next to the trail. It seems like the shoes should protect her from the gravel, so maybe she'd be more sensitive without them?
So here's the thing. My farrier (neighbor) put shoes on my husband's horse last week. She was fine at first, but a few days (& 2 trail rides) later she started limping a lot. Neighbor's wife rode her the day before I saw the limping. Says she was fine after ride, but I have no idea. Today was the 3rd day of limping. It may not be the shoes or his farrier work, but I have to wonder because the ferrier's horse has had similar limping after being shod and its been off and on for weeks. We can't pinpoint any sensitive area on her hooves or legs. Can't find any swelling or anything. I'll call the vet if it continues, but its hard to get a vet out here (we have a serious shortage of large animal vets here).
So any opinions, ideas, etc. would be appreciated. Should a horse being ridden on a lot of gravel always have shoes? Would the shoes make the "clumsiness" better or worse, or is it likely unrelated to shoes?
Sorry for the novel, but I'm so confused on this stuff.