if your horse is doing alot of hard work (jumping, being ridden more then 3 times a week) id suggest getting shoes just so your horses feet don't become tender and worn from all the hard work hes doing. if your horses feet are strong then he shouldn't need shoes. it all really depends on what work your making your horse do. but if the horses feet are naturally soft and tender i recommend shoes.
In addition to what ginger said, I believe that a lot of arena work does not necessarily warrant the use of shoes. Horses can jump, barrel race, ect. barefoot, and will actually have more traction that way.
Where you might need shoes. is if you ride a lot outside of an arena, where terrain can be rough. Shoes are expensive. I keep mine barefoot if possible, but put shoes on at the first sign of tenderness, as I do not want bruises to take me out of riding for weeks.
depends on the horse. my horse, despite having well cared for hoofs and being on a hoof supplement for the last decade simply cannot go w/o shoes even though all I do is light riding in the arena and trail. in fact the only time he's been barefoot successfully was when he's been on stall rest for an injury.
of course I've had other horses that are completely the opposite; never needed a shoe in their lives; never needed to have hoof supplements, etc. Just the luck of the draw.
Hey there, I have a barefoot farrier. She doesn't do shoes at all, and practices exclusively barefoot practice. I have four horses, three of which are OTTBs...and none of them have had shoes in ages. If you do need to go out and do hard work, such as jumping or intensive trail riding over hard ground, you can buy special boots to put on your horses feet. Generally, however, they do find whithout anything. Horses weren't designed for shoes, and they were designed for going over hard heavy going.
My farrier has been barefoot trimming my horses for over a year now, and my horses have never looked better. They are consistently sound, their feet look great, and they are in overall wonderful condition. One of my TBs had a bowed tendon when I got him, mainly from his 'racetrack trim' he had no heel, a long toe, and his walls were in shambles from the shoe nails. Now, his feet look so great that if I showed people photos of just his feet, they would never guess he had raced for 5 years.
If you need anymore information on barefoot trimming, please feel free to let me know. I would love to help you out; my horses have never looked better and I'd love to pass it along!