There is a huge debate about shoes or no shoes on horses. I don't really have a personal preference but I would most certainly go with no shoes on my horses. If a situation came up that I needed shoes I would get them. I do how ever believe that horses can preform with out shoes. Out in the wild some one doesn't nail on shoes, yet the horses have such great feet. They are getting the adequate nutrition, moving around so the extra hoof toe falls off. How can we spend less money on the farrier, and keep our horses feet healthy, or even healthier than out in the wild? If you do decide the bare foot horse, here are a few factors to think about.
First, the right amount of space is required. Though its getting harder every year to find big enough properties. With space the horse is able to move freely giving his feet a natural trim himself. Its like us with our finger nails, if we use our hands alot,it keeps our nails down without having to trim them as much, but if we don't work with our hands they grow. So by allowing space or even a full day turn out will reduce toe growth and keep the horse healthy in other ways as well.
Nutrition: OK this is rally important. Again we are taking horses from their natural environment and sticking them into stalls or other confined areas. They lose all that nutritional grass and plants in the wild that we have to substitute it for them. There's so much stuff on the market for horses that you never find the right stuff that meets your needs. And I can prove this to you. When I first started riding horses, we had about 20 acres where the horses would play eat and drink form a pond. We never gave them supplements or hoof care products, because they were just so healthy from the grass and freedom. We started doing our own horses feet, not using shoes and there feet got so much better. About a year ago, I got my own horse and moved her to an acre of pasture, her feet were fine and i did my own trimming. Now I am in college and my horse is cooped up in a stall with shoes on because she isn't getting the proper space. She is lame and I am giving her so many supplements and hoof care stuff that's just ridiculous. I turn her out as much as possible for her to move around, but since there's no grass and real excitement going on, its not helping. Horses deserve proper space, for we are the ones that using them for our pleasure purposes.