Willow has been barefoot her whole life. When I bought her as a four-year-old, I thought once I had her in full work, I'd probably have to shoe her. She is half TB, after all. But here we are: she's almost eight, and her bare feet are still fabulous. We're in Oregon, where the ground is soft nine months of the year, and the footing in the arena is to die for, so she just doesn't require shoes.
I guess I've been lucky to have always been at barns where the horses that could be barefoot, were barefoot, and the farriers were open to whatever worked for each horse. I definitely don't believe that every horse can go barefoot, but I also think that not every horse needs to be shod. It all depends on the individual horse and his circumstances.
Willow has been on a six-week trim schedule at our current barn, and I've noticed that during the last week before the trim she gets a little stumble-y. This go 'round, she started stumbling two weeks before the trim. Tonight, it was pretty bad (I tried one trot under saddle and she tripped immediately, so we just walked), and we still have a week to go until the scheduled farrier visit. After the cold, snowy spells the second half of December, we've had unseasonably warm and sunny weather in January, and I think Willow thinks it's spring. She's starting to shed, and her feet are growing like crazy. So I'm going to see if I can get her on a four-week schedule. I hope the farrier can come tomorrow or Thursday; if not, I'm going to have to reschedule our Thursday lesson again. If it's not one thing, it's another.