Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
That depends. There are a handful of horses--the only ones I've heard of are retrained Mustangs, but some Arabians, as well and some mules--whose hooves are SO TOUGH that shoeing is a waste of money. Otherwise the shoes are meant to keep the hoof from wearing down. You farrier can shoe with a rubber pad across the frog that will prevent a tender frog from making contact with gravel or rocks. Even where I live, In Central Illinois, which is basically a drained swamp!!, my horses can pick up the occasional rock during turnout, so it can happen on any trail ride. You just stop and clean out the rock. Make sure you pack a hoof pick on all of your rides. =D I prefer a brass folding pick that I also put a key ring on.
I used to have a couple of horses who hating walking barefoot on gravel at home, but were just fine with regular horse shoes when we rode them in the Black Hills or in Colorado. There is no rubbing on the pastern with a horse shoe. Sometimes, IMHO, manufacturers convince us that their product is indispensible, even though most people don't use it regularly. That is my opinion of easyboots and others. I own them for emergency purposes. Otherwise I ask my farrier lots of questions and go with his recommendations. =D