You sound... testy in your reply mm. Sorry if you took my post badly - I didnt mean to sound argumentative or such in the least...
- Weight distribution, given that the horse "walks" most of its time,
Yes, at a walk they are usually 'front heavy'. I dont believe i bothered with details, think i just said it depends, and its not all about weight distribution.
- If it doesn't sound like a piece of wood (or "hard" horn) when I tap on it, it's "soft". If pieces flake off from a structure that I can bend like rubber,
I wouĺdnt say the sound is a definite indicator at all & i wouldnt want frog sounding like horn or being inflexible anyway. But yes, absoĺutely, if sole can be(remotely) 'bent like rubber'
that is... very not a good thing!
I have only experienced *soft* sole a couple of times before, both times after pedal bone penetration & not sure whether it was true sole material that grew over it (dr bowker said he didnt think proper sole could
regenerate over a penetration, but on further evidence, we thought the diff betwwen those that cant & can is about using chems that retard growth)
I have, unfortunately not that rarely, dealt with horses yhat were so thin soled they yielded to my thumb pressure tho. Thats bad too, but not end of world. I wouldnt say their soles were soft, just so thin they were flexible. Perhaps (i hope) thats what you mean by soft soles.
Neither of the above are necessarily a problem of shoes v's bare though.
states that a shod hoof often gets trimmed to the "waxy" part of the sole - which is probably "softer" than the "hard" hoof wall.
Yeah regardless of whether they shoe or not, farriers very often over prune the bottom surfaces.
is definitely soft. Sole, regardless of live or dead is also softer than wall horn. Ime old sole is not nec. Harder than live sole tho & sometomes hhe opposite - you can scrape it off with a hoofpick even.
just as you would not have problems in the pasture. However, the hoof wall, if extending a bit beyond the sole like a shoe would, will take some contact force off the center when riding on unyielding, abrasive surfaces like tarmac, or stepping on stuff that's the horse's equivalent of LEGO
Quoted that first bit above because you're talking to someone who can comfortably run down a gravel rd barefoot... yet a couple of my horses need boots to keep up with me on that.
And the next bit - yes im well aware that peripheral loading can indeed be a great *palliative* but this ime is by far the most damaging effect of shoes (or bare with long, strong walls or very concave feet on hard, flat surfaÁes). I think raising what Dog put on the bottom of the horses feet so theyre out of commission is definitely contra-indicated.
They may well need artificial protection *& support* if sole & frog are too weak to use properly though.
Ime the only time ive found horses to benefit from *relief* underneath (assuming they not too far gone for anything but palliative only) is when sole is ULTRA thin such as severe founder, when a crescent may need to be cut out of thick pads to relieve the tip of p3, unt enough can grow back.
(OP states she has to hit the road to get to the trails,
Op also stated horse is not in work for some time.
Even thin soled horses *generally* find paved surfaces fine when bare tho.