The Houston Mounted Police force prove otherwise.
and a longer article
Then you get told that barefoot horses can't perform - maybe they don't know about the Simon Earle barefoot racehorses - they use a horse walker with a concrete floor and get on just fine (they win races over jumps too). Table below is an extract from Racing Post
The Horses Hoof magazine details more performance barefooters:
A thread from Horse and Hound forum - 'ordinary' people competing their horses barefoot
And an extract from Horse magazine
Which leading riders’ horses have ‘gone barefoot’?
•German-based British dressage rider Emma Hindle is a barefoot advocate after working with her farrier to remove Diamond Hit and Wie Weltmeyer’s shoes in 2005. “The suppleness with which Hindle's horses moved in Saumur [the international CDIO in France in 2005] was remarkable,” reported the website www.eurodresage.com . “The secret to this power and rhythm in her horses is the fact that they wear no shoes.”
•Endurance rider Les Spark, who uses his own ‘force-balance’ hoof trimming technique, has been riding and competing his horses barefoot for five years. “Our main horse, Magica's Minstrel, has done more barefoot distance at speed, over varied terrain, in all weather conditions than any other horse in the UK and has never been retired or vetted out for reasons of lameness,” says Les.
•Trainer Simon Earle is renowned for managing his racehorses without shoes. “We believe the horse's foot is a miracle of natural engineering. By removing shoes and allowing the foot to function as it was meant to, there is significant improvement in our horses' performance, in particular with increased stride length,” he says.
•Dressage trainer and breeder Lucinda McAlpine will never go back to shoeing her horses, having removed her Grand Prix dressage horse Panduc’s shoes more than 10 years ago. “Horses do not have problem feet: shoes cause problems to horses’ feet due to reduced circulation and increased concussion,” she says.
An extract from: Shoeing the dressage horse by Rob Renirie (2009 Global Dressage Forum)
Rob is the Dutch dressage team farrier.
The best way for a horse to go is barefoot! If your horses do not have problematic hooves or do not change surface too much, Renirie professes you should keep them barefoot. Rob, who said he became a farrier to solve a hoof problem with one of his own horses, admitted that he keeps his horses barefoot.
- Austin Police Department's Mounted Patrol Unit - 11 of their 13 horses are barefoot and trimmed naturally by AANHCP CP Joel Means. Another mounted patrol unit that credits the entirely barefoot Houston Police Mounted Patrol Unit with influencing their decision to remove the shoes (and use AANHCP Certified NHC Practitoners) for their hoofcare.