I'm looking into getting some hoof boots for Soda. He's always been a little ouchy on gravel, but since moving him to my parent's place it's gotten a lot worse. It's to the point where he's constantly ditch diving on the shoulders which isn't safe because of glass/trash/holes/etc in the grass.
I'd rather not shoe him, mostly because of the expense and the difficulty of finding (and keeping) a decent farrier. Unfortunately I'm not able to change the environment he's in currently so I won't be able to toughen him up by putting gravel/rocks in the paddock. The ground is all soft dirt, grass, and mud so he's basically adapted to his main surface. Unfortunately it doesn't work for trail riding....
24/7 pasture turnout, free choice hay, minimal grain, and a hoof supplement that was started 3 months ago. The supplement may help a bit, but I'm not pinning my hopes on it. He's been barefoot for at least 4 yrs now and probably his entire life so it isn't an issue of acclimating from being shod. Just tender hooves/feet.
Soooo.... Any recommendations? They'd be used for trail riding on surfaces ranging from gravel to grass. Generally flat but occaisionally some hills. I'm not worried about it for arena or competative work as he doesn't have any problems in dirt/sand. It would be nice to go for a good gallop down the gravel roads without fighting to keep him out of the ditch.