So what is the best way to take care of your horses feet anyway? It's still not going to be cheap, cheap unless your a farrier yourself and can trim your own horses up for free, but it doesn't have to rob you of your wallet either.
The most important key is to keep your horses hooves trimmed. This means having the farrier visit every 10-12 weeks if you horses are barefoot (no shoes), or every 6-8 weeks if they are wearing shoes. Sometime a rasping tool can be handy just to stay on top of things in between visits, as well. You can get these on different websites like valleyvet, or horse.com, etc. There's always price differences but you can get one from anywhere between $12-$38.
Growing up we had a lot of light colored hooves that ran the land. This also meant lot of cracks in the dry summers of Nebraska. It's always a good idea to keep your horses hooves moisturized, but not too much, and it's possible by applying a hoof conditioner a couple times a week.
Other possible effects on the hoof are abscesses, contracted heels, corns, thrush and laminitis. I haven't had troubles with most of these but I will say that abscesses are not fun. They are very painful to the horse and are usually caused by puncture wound or injury. Some horses are prone to these and get them every year making it impossible to ride them. Some abscesses open and drain on their own, and some need to be opened to allow them to drain. For this I recommend keeping Epsom salt on hand and in your tack room at all times. Not only is it good for wounds but it is great to soak hooves in to help allow abscesses to drain. (It's also good to put in a bathtub for yourself now again... just saying)
So what does all this mean? I'm not trying to scare you by any means, but I hope this allows you to see that preventing is way easier than treating. Keep horses hooves trimmed and moisturized with a conditioner. Always inspect your horses hooves too. When you pick them pay attention to any cracks or bruises, or chips and anything that makes the hoof look different or doesn't seem normal for your horse. I know we all have busy schedules and sometimes going to the barn or pasture for some is not on their mind after a long day of work, but it is a good idea to keep an I on your horses every now and then. Not only will it keep your horses happy to see you, but it keeps any wounds or hoof problems from getting old or worse.
There are always supplement that you can give horses too, to help in certain areas. I personally have started my gelding on a couple daily supplements to keep him going good. I'd never tried it before, but I recently ordered the Smartpaks supplements. It's very convenient and simple and you can customize it however you like. Now because supplement aren't always cheap I still had to simplify what I was ordering. In my Smarpaks for Ike I have a SmartHoof supplement and SmartFlex I Maintenance supplement to keep his joints healthy for basic work. Of course there were tons of other supplements that I wanted to include hooves and joints always seem to be the best priority. What's also convenient about Smartpaks is they ship is automatically for you each month so you don't have to think about it. If you need the to postpone shipping you can also customize it to "snooze" the shipping date a week or two, also.
I hope this helps you out in keeping your horses hooves in check. Again it's pretty basic care and prevention is better than the treatment process. If your horses are barefoot without shoes, then have them trimmed every 10-12 weeks and apply a hoof conditioner a couple times a week. If your horses wear shoes then the only change is to have them trimmed every 6-8 weeks instead. This is important because hooves overgrowing the shoe itself can cause pressure and bruising and chipping of the hoof. Also shoe maintenance is important in case a shoe is loose it can come of unexpectedly and take pieces of hoof with it. In other words if your horse has shoes try to stay on top of getting your horse trimmed and reshod regularly. In between farrier visits I also recommend getting a rasp of your own and this will allow you to keep your horses hooves shaped up in the mean time.
Remember, No Hoof, No Horse! I've been a guilty horse owner of not following the rules of staying on top of things but I'm changing my ways. After seeing a neighboring horse get thrush and another have lameness problems it brought me back to reality that spending a little time and money with my horses to PREVENT these things is way cheaper and better for both my horse and myself than having to treat something that's been caused by laziness on my part.
So take care of those four hooved beasts that allow us to ride on their back willingly. It's the least we can do for all the things they do for us!
Happy Hoof Prints to you!