I'm fed up with boots and barefoot. Two of my horses have never had shoes until this summer ( they are 7 & 6 yo) I been a major source of income for Easyboot. Just as Salior Griz comments, I tear gaiters every trip and loose the the occassional boot. I started with Easyboots plain, then bought EPICs, then bought BARES and now have the Gloves. They work just fine, but they are too expensive to keep repairing and replacing. With four horses, I'm usually end up being the one that has to go around and put 16 boots on and take 16 boots off. It takes too much time every ride.
Since I committed to going barefoot 5 years ago, I've learned to trim my own horses feet. Got too expensive to have the trimmer out every 2-3 weeks to trim. So he taught me how and I'm thankful for the knowledge. That first year we alternated trimings, I would trim and 2 weeks later he would trim and critc my trim. I learned a lot and feel comfortable with trimming.
I could ride my bare foot horses on any trail for a day. The problem was I couldn't ride them 2-3-4 days straight, It really depends on the type of rocks. This past memorial day I decided I had had enough. We went down to ride the area around Bryce Canyon. Horses did great the first day, Half way through the second day, they were getting tender footed and by the end of the day, They all needed their boots. I destroyed numerous gaiters and lost one boot on the next day. The decision was made, If my horses can not go barefoot all the time, I would rather put shoes on than keep messing with boots. It was just costing me too much in repairs, replacements and time. Too often I have friends, guest, and other non-horsey people on my horses, So the chores are all mine.
I put shoes on all my horses the 1st of July. With my experience in trimming, I decided I would try shoeing. Had my old farrier come out and check my work, He said I did great. Shoes all stayed on and I just pulled them last week and will be reshoeing them next week for the fall hunting season. I bought 16 shoes for less than what one gaiter cost to replace. I spent 2 hours shoeing the horses, But that was less time than what I would have spent over 7-8 weeks of putting on and taking off boots. And it was time spent back at the house vs putting boots on while I have people standing around wanted to get on and ride.
My horses will still spend 8 months a year barefoot. But for the hardest riding part of the year, They will now wear shoes.
This is what my boots looked like after a weekend at Bryce
And this is what we were riding across. The rocks around Bryce are very angular and sharp vs be round and worn.
I found it's not the big rocks that are the problem but the smaller ones
Here are some pictures of my horses when they were barefoot riding through some rocky areas like sailorgriz describes above