So, I had my horse's shoes pulled last Tuesday (he's had front shoes for a year, before that he was barefoot, but he kept losing shoes and I was getting irritated), and he's been ouchie ever since.
He's not limping around, but when I watch him go and when I've ridden him (briefly, on a loose rein), I can just tell they are sore.
Everyone has told me his feet just need to harden and whatnot, but is there anything I can do for him? And can I ride him a little bit (at the trot on a loose rein)? Or do I just let him get super fat until his feet harden?
It might be, it might not be. But you can always resell them if your horse adjusts really quickly. I've sold a couple of pair after only posting them for under a week. However, IMHO, you can never go wrong by having a spare pair of boots on hand just in case you need them.
I use Simple Boots for my barefoot TB. He was able to transition from racing plates to barefoot fairly easy (along with Durasole). I do take them off while he's in his stall though. Since we started doing a lot of jumping this spring, I've had to get a little more hard core with him. I'm now doing the whole venice turpentine routine, and will probably throw in some Durasole when the VT runs out.
Unless you are only going to be riding on soft footing I would invest in hoof boots.
My TB has been barefoot since last fall. I used the hoof boots to help him transition and I still use them when I'm going to be riding on rough or rocky terrain. Mostly I use just front boots, but when I'm hunting on rocky ground I use them all 'round.