Pea Gravel loafing areas - a 3 inch layer of 3/8ths inch pea gravel laid over a layer of compressed road base - effectively separate dirt and mud from horses, and is fine enough to easily remove manure from if it's picked out regularly. Gravel works like shavings except it's a long term solution and is much better for your horses feet..
Horses love the way it feels on their hooves and coats. It distributes pressure like a bean bag chair so it's a great place for horses to grab a nap in the sun.
Pea Gravel makes a great place for horses to urinate; urine drains through easily and dries fast, unlike organic bedding. Gravel can be hosed down to flush away ammonia and dust, so the area stays neater for longer.
Gravel is also great for conditioning feet; and while Durango's feet are far from finished, her feet have come a LONG way in just 60 days.
Her heels have relaxed out to an almost normal shape in a very brief period of time. I assume the gravel was very comfortable so that she could use her heels properly from the time the shoes were removed.
Her soles have changed as well. Her post-shoe sole was flat, and the sole in the pictures below is showing a developing concavity.
The long term payoff is that her feet will stay sound, and she will always be ready for the trail ahead. Her healthy feet will only need trimming every 6 to 8 weeks because the combination of Passive Conditioning and regular trail riding provide the elements needed for a self maintaining trim.
She'll still need regular rasping, and occasional professional trimming will ensure she's staying balanced, but a few hundred dollars invested in gravel will save a fortune in farrier and vet costs.