Horses have evolved to cope with covering many miles per day over most terrains without the need for horse-shoes. In domestication, however, we tend to keep horses in soft pasture, perhaps eating too-lush grass, and don't give them sufficient exercise to develop the hoof structures necessary to cope with going barefoot. It is possible to overcome these difficulties, although it will often take a lot of commitment, time and education on the owner's part.
There are many reasons why owners may choose to take horses barefoot - ideology, need for reduced concussion on joints, lack of soundness when shod, poor hoof structure when shod, inability to keep shoes on..... Farriers/trimmers should be chosen with the utmost care, ideally with recommendation and/or operating under a recognised governing body. Soreness and/or abcessing are not "necessary evils" when a horse is transitioning to barefoot and owners are advised to stay clear of practitioners claiming otherwise. There are various hoof-boots on the market so soreness can be avoided. It is legal for non-farriers to trim horses, provided the hoof is not being prepared for a shoe. We do not advocate that owners trim their own horses without first undertaking extensive training and under the guidance of a professional. In remedial cases it is advised you seek veterinary advice and work with recognised specialists. We note that every equine has individual needs and requirements and that the decision to go barefoot or shod must be made in the best interest of the animal at all times.
||[Access to hard-standing and/or time away from lush grass can be crucial elements to success in keeping horses barefoot.]