The land here is very dry, and very rocky…typically there is less than 10 inches of rain per year.
Hooves in this environment become amazingly capable, but its a far cry from the UK!
In the UK, we have totally different conditions – Exmoor, for instance can have 70-100 inches of rain per year.
In this environment, horses won’t naturally develop “rock-crunching” hooves – this is partly because of the wet, soft ground and partly because their diet is much richer – we grow grass!
But we need our barefoot horses to have rock-crunching “desert” hooves so that we can ride on rough, stony ground, and on roads, not just fields and arenas.
The solution is to mimic much tougher conditions, so that hooves become stronger too.
You don’t need to make huge changes – you can provide dry, stimulating, abrasive terrain by keeping a horse in a stable or shelter for part of the day, and you can restrict grazing by turning out in a dry lot with hay or haylage instead of a green field.
You might even be able to create a track, which maximises movement but limits access to grass.