Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Alberta, Canada
In my experience, I have found that boots work very well for some people, but can be a huge pain to deal with for others. The way I see it, and the way I handle it with my "barefoot" trimmed horses, is usually based on the duration of the ride and the terrain that you'll be facing. When I'm out with groups of people and many of them will have boots on their horses, it has been my experience that at least 1 or 2 people will come home either missing a boot (fell off or got stuck in mud) or come back with a damaged boot, rendering it useless.
My best advice, following what I said before, would be to consult your farrier about the condition of your horse's hooves, and ask yourself: Are you going to be riding for long periods of time? Are you going to be riding on harsh rocky surfaces on a regular basis?
I really like to ride without boots if I'm out just for a couple hours, because I feel like it's not too hard on the horses and it will do nothing but toughen their soles a bit, but if it becomes painful for them, I'll usually slip a pair onto their front feet to make the ride a little more comfortable on those longer trips.