Boot? Good heavens no! I have Fell Ponies. I'm sure that most of those select few who know what a Fell Pony is are thinking of feathers and nice hock and knee action and wild flowing manes. However, those outside the breed's native Cumbria (the UK's Lake District) might be surprised to know that traditional Fell breeders actually breed for foot conformation and hoof quality.

That's right. At the annual Fell Pony breed show near Penrith, in northern England, the showing classes include the following two: Best Foot Shod, and Best Foot – Never Been Shod. Fell Pony breeders take foot quality seriously, and it shows. My ponies have well conformed feet with excellent quality horn. The concavity and shape is wonderful. These ponies, as long as they are kept and trimmed with foot health in mind, can crunch rocks and gravel all day, day after day, quite happily, without a problem.

If more breeders took foot quality and conformation into consideration when choosing sires and dams, rather than "typey" looks and fancy pedigrees, the foot health of horses would be much better.

No boots needed!

Name: Kris Hughes, Manzanola, Colorado USA
Equine Discipline: Pleasure Riding
Favorite Boot: Easyboot Glove Back Country