Bill Potter bought his first Fell Pony in the early 1950's and started breeding the Greenholme ponies in 1957 with the breeding lines coming from Heltondale stock.
Bill now shares the Greenholme prefix with his brothers and nephew.
The Greenholme herd of Fell Ponies is one of only a handful of extensively grazing ponies, which are semi-wild in their native environment on the Cumbria fells. They are very hardy ponies, being hefted, which means it is their home, at a height of 1,000 feet in summer and winter on Birkbeck common. Ponies and their parents and parents before them have been bred on the common by the Potter family since the early 1970's.
The Greenholme ponies are very popular with both breeders and as competing ponies and it is not often a Greenholme pony is not placed at an event.
With the Greenholme herd receiving 'Fell Breeder of the Year' and 'Fell Sire of the Year' at the 2021 Horse of the Year Show.
At the start of 2021 the Greenholme herd was only one of three herds that had more then 20 breeding mares making up to 20% of foals born in Cumbria.
With the Greenholme herd producing 23 foals in 2020 from only 87 foals registered with the breed society from the hill bred hefted herds.
However, in 2018, Bill was taken to court after a 6 year battle, facing charges brought by Natural England connected with his grazing of his herd of Fell Ponies on Birkbeck Common, Shap. Bill was convicted of 11 breaches, fined £1,320 and ordered to pay costs of £15,000 at Carlisle Magistrates Court. But his convictions were rejected by a crown court judge and the fine set aside after he reached a settlement with Natural England, were Bill agreed to relinquish his grazing rights.
So in October 2021 at the annual Fell Pony reduction sale, The Greenholme Stud reduced their herd by 47 ponies. - 10 mares, 3 four year old fillies, 3 yearling colts, 2 yearling geldings, 4 licensed stallions, 18 filly foals and 7 colt foals (with Greenholme Popeye's £840 proceeds going to Prostate Cancer UK).
Bill now has only 8 breeding mares and 2 stallions.
Bill Potters Greenholme Herd