Originally Posted by Allison Finch
It depends on many things....
What are you planning to do with your horse? Are ALL the places you plan to ride soft and easy footing?
What kind of feet does your horse have? Large and tough? Flay and shelly? Some feet can do well barefoot....other not at all.
What discipline do you ride? Some are very demanding on the foot.
So, we cannot answer whether YOUR horse can go barefoot without know more detail. In my experience, shoeing requires little more than good trimming as far as obedience goes.
Right now, we're just going to be trail riding and doing arena work. There is only one trail that has soft, easy footing and we might be losing access to that trail (if we had access to that trail, I wouldn't be asking if he has to have shoes).
Aires feet are definitely large and tough. Our farrier commented on how good his feet are and that he'd do well barefoot.
As I said, right now, we'll just be doing trail riding and arena work. Aires is in the process of being broke right now, so we're not going to be doing anything heavy duty for a while. Eventually, I want to do hunter, maybe XC (he has the stamina for it), and anything else we can do. He will always be a trail horse as well, though.
As for shoeing verses trimming and the obedience required. Aires was basically untouched for a year and a half before I got him. He has a distinct dislike for men (our farrier is a man and the only way he tolerated him was if the farrier slid in behind me while I was scratching Aires' shoulder...once the farrier got a hold of his hoof, he was fine) that we don't know where it stems from. There are only two men that he tolerates/likes. One is our BO and the other is another boarder who has a distinct way with horses. Aires hadn't had his feet touched in at least a year.