As long as it's normal for a horse to prefer to walk on grass to gravel (makes sense to me...I do too), I think Annie's fine for now. She has also not really gotten a chance to let her hooves "harden up."
But like I said, I ride once a week, on mainly dirt (sometimes, for a brief period, gravel) trails. Hoofprints, our trails here look almost identical to the pictures you posted. This is a just for fun situation, too...not endurance or anything. LoL, I am a big baby about bad weather.
I definitely saw NO limping the other day...if Annie limped, my butt would be off her in about half a second.
I think you're all completely correct in that it depends on the horse. I will keep my mind open to all options and communicate well with my farrier. I really appreciate all the input.
What do you do with 4 months of ice??? Barefoot horses can hardly make the field let alone run roads on footing as slick as any skating rink. I won't let winter stop me from enjoying my outings and shoes and studs are the only option. That or stall rest for 4 or 5 months.
LoL, good Lord, what DO you do? I HATE winter. We get snow once, if that, for a week. And by the end of the week I'm over it.
But seriously, I think it's awesome that everyone keeps riding through the elements. I feel lucky to live where the ground is soft for the most part, and the weather is mild.