The Fell Pony has a rich and unique history dating all the way back to 15,000 B.C. This pony still makes a popular mount today.
The Fell Pony’s distant origins begin with wild European ponies found in northern England as early as 15,000 B.C. These early ponies were strong, had a gentle nature, and were hardy enough to survive on the moorland of the England and Scotland borders.
According to the Fell Pony Society of North America, the Fell Pony was used by the Vikings for plowing and for pulling sledges. Normans used the ponies for shepherding, as well as for transporting goods. With the progress brought about by the Industrial Revolution, the Fell Pony’s purpose changed. Fell Ponies were used as packhorses to carry iron ore from mines in England.
While the Fell Pony proved to be an efficient packhorse, the invention of the train and the subsequent progression of the railway across the country soon left the transportation of goods via pony an impractical method. Fell Ponies fell out of popularity, and many were sold for slaughter during this period. Despite its lack of popularity as a packhorse, breeding of the ponies continued, and the Fell Pony survived this period when it was not in demand.
The Fell Pony’s popularity would return during the mid-20th century when it proved itself useful as a pleasure mount. The pony successfully served as an all-round mount suitable for any member of a family. Its versatility meant that it was capable of fulfilling a wide range of jobs, while its strength allowed it to carry both children and adults.
Fell Ponies typically range between 13.2 and 14 hands high. They are commonly brown, bay, black, and gray, and have limited white markings. Fell Ponies are hardy with strong bone. They are agile and sure-footed, being able to survive in tough climates due to their origin in the moorlands. Fell Ponies have an agreeable temperament.
The Breed Today
Today the Fell Pony makes a popular family riding mount, carrying both children and adults. It also serves as a driving pony, and some Fell Ponies compete in combined driving. According to the Fell Pony Society of North America, Fell Ponies occasionally carry game down from the Scotland moors for hunters, and they are often used for trail rides because their size makes them easy to mount and dismount. Fell Ponies also serve in therapeutic riding programs.
To learn more about the Fell Pony, visit the Fell Pony Society of North America's website.
Photo Source: flickr
Original Source: The Fell Pony