With more riding comes the inevitable phone calls. "My horse has been sound barefoot all winter and now that I want to ride him/her, he/she is sore! What can I do?" BUY SOME BOOTS! Most horses don't get the chance to travel over different types of terrain for the amount of miles they need to in order to develop the callous needed to be ridden barefoot over different surfaces comfortably. Does your horse have concrete or rocks in their turnout or stall area? If the answer is no, then we really cannot expect your horse to develop the hoof they need to be able to travel over those surfaces comfortably.
Surfaces aside, even just the added weight of a rider (no matter how light) can be enough to make a normally sound horse sore. My daughter weighs just about 20 pounds which is about 1/6th of my weight and when I have to put her in her back pack carrier and hike or just take a long walk, I can feel it everywhere! I have a sore knee that acts up, my back will ache and my feet are extra tired. By the end of the summer I will be more fit to do this over longer periods of time but our first month or so of hiking is pretty brutal! I can understand how a horse that hasn't been ridden much over the past few months will take some time to get back into the swing of being ridden and boots and pads will make the transition go that much smoother.
If you have limitations that keep you from being able to put on boots to ride or if you are planning to go on some long rides or your horse has a problem keeping boots on, consider some glue-on options. There are many different kids of boots, shoes, casts etc that can help your barefoot horse stay comfortable for a time when a lot is going to be asked of them.
I'm an Easycare dealer so I am partial to their products but no matter what brand you choose, ask your trimmer about a good fitting pair of riding boots to help your horse stay comfortable this riding season!
PS- boots aren't just for Spring/summer/fall, if you are a brave soul and ride all winter, they can really help keep your horse feeling their best year-round!