I do not shoe, and Sonny will remain barefoot unless something happens where he NEEDS them (like navicular or an injury that shoes are required)
I go barefoot because it's healthier for the hoof and the horse, they get better traction when barefoot compared to shoes (yes, believe it or not they do...especially on a wet slippery rock....I went out trail riding and my horse was the only barefoot horse, all the horses slid down the rock and mine, though he did slide a tiny little bit didn't slide all the way down), it helps the hoof expand more like it is supposed to when the horse moves, and is 100% better on the joints (shock absorption......metal does not absorb any of the shock causing strain on the joints....definately worse if you have studs on the shoes for winter time).
I was told by my vet that Sonny needed shoes in the summer or else he'd go lame. I was also told that by the lady I bought him from. My vet told me that he'd be sore if I rode him on gravel, and if I did a trail ride without shoes he'd turn up lame.
Well, never once put shoes on him....never once was he lame, done a whole lot of trail rides that cover ALOT of severly rocky ground, through creeks, and everything...........no lameness.
Definately not all horses can go barefoot, some as Arrow said, wears their hooves down when barefoot, and that definately is bad for their hoof, so keeping the horse shod is the only way to protect the hoof.
But the easiest thing to say, is, if your horse CAN go barefoot, does not have any medicail problems that would require a shoe, then go barefoot.
It's cheaper also