Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Illinois www.saddleonline.com
Horse hooves are very similar to our finger and toe nails. As with people, some horses have thick, healthy sturdy hooves and can stay sound and happy without any type of protection - shoe, boot, etc. On the other hand, some horses have weak hooves, they're brittle and crack and wear down easily, especially with work. These horses need hoof protection in order to stay sound.
The amount of work the horse does, the terrain you ride on and even the terrain in your pastures can affect whether or not your horse can go shoeless.
In short, there is no right or wrong answer. Devotees of one theory or the other can be all set on their side, and then discover (upon the purchase of a new horse or a move to a different location) that their prior beliefs aren't working for them now. Welcome to life with horses :)
"Riding: the art of keeping the horse between you and the ground."