2) It will be great to save the time and money (this new place is more out of the way, so getting a farrier is possible but not easy)
3) The woman who owns/runs the place keeps all her horses without shoes and does a simple file job to keep their hooves "shaped right"...her words.
While it will be less expensive than shoeing, horses still need regular farriery/trimming. Hooves may also grow faster once function is more optimal than it will be with shoes, and also it is common for horses to be trimmed/reshod when there is quite a bit of overgrowth, which is not ideal and it's best to *keep* the hooves in functional form, rather than allowing them to overgrow before 'correcting' them with a trim. Therefore, trimming usually needs to be done more frequently than the average 6 weekly.
*Assuming* this woman really knows what she's doing & is happy to trim your horses too, that could be ideal. Otherwise, with lack of a regular farrier(& there's also the big consideration of not all farriers doing a good job, you may not have a good one within cooee), you will need to learn to do the job yourself. It's not rocket science, but I do strongly advise that whether you do it yourself or not, you first learn the theory. The principles and factors that effect hoof health. Check out the thread link in my signature line below to get started... or continue learning.
4) They will spend 95% of their time on grassy fields with a small river running through it
5) Except for a few hundred meters/yards of connecting roads(stable to field etc) that are unpaved gravel, they will be ridden on either the beach or a sand road, or grass.
There are many other factors influencing the health & soundness of a horse's hooves. How healthy or otherwise their feet are now for eg. But generally speaking, yes, sounds like a great environment not to need artificial protection for their feet. If they're uncomfortable on the gravel, esp early in the piece, you could get off & walk those sections, keep them to the verges, or if you'll be occasionally doing more on gravel, buy them a set of hoof boots for those times.
2) They just got their new ones last week, and I am moving them soon...I read it is better NOT to take shoes off a recently shod hoof, correct? How long to wait?
3) Once they are removed, what is the waiting period like? I am sure it is different for various horses, so what to watch for to decide?
There are a lot of factors to understand/consider. If for eg. your farrier trimmed very short and has pared much sole & frog, then the horses could be quite uncomfortable bare(think about rasping the callouses off your soles & going bare!), until more sole/frog material grows. In that case, you may want to wait a couple of weeks before taking shoes off. One thing when allowing a shod horse to go bare is that very little foot should generally be trimmed immediately after. It's generally best to remove shoes & trim little if any, until a week or 2 after. On yielding ground that shouldn't be a problem anyway even if they're a bit overgrown.
If the feet are a bit unhealthy for any reason - flared, thin soled, mildly laminitic, been conventionally shod without respite long term, etc, etc, then they can be a bit sensitive when they first go bare, as the circulation improves and they can feel their feet fully again. This generally isn't too bad or long lived if they're on yielding footing. If they are seriously uncomfortable, &/or it continues for long, then there's likely more serious problems going on inside.
4) Care after they are unshod? She, the owner of the new place, seems to have good luck by simply stepping their hoof on a wooden board and using a file to get a "good shape"...if her horses "seem fine with this" is their any reason not to think mine will be ok too? ...
Thanks very much all.....oh, and for any professional farriers out there, maybe this is a good chance to come on down and see about some barter for services....hosting a creative "natural farrier" sounds like a win/win to me...
Start by studying those sites in my link. I'd gladly come to Costa Rica & teach you... but it might be a bit expensive for you to ship me from Australia!
If you had enough people interested to split the bill, might be asking someone from the States. Or taking yourself there to do a weekend 'clinic' or such(...if you're allowed across the border, after this week...
) If you really haven't any better options, I recommend Pete Ramey's DVD set 'Under The Horse', to help you get started in a safe manner.
You can also post hoof pics here(see other link in my signature for what angles needed) and there are a few of us who know what's what, to offer you some opinions on specifics from those.