The Fell Pony
This old breed of mountain pony has long roamed the hills of Cumberland and Westmorland, and their characteristics are a perfect match for their terrain. With a height limit of 14 hands, they are sturdy and well-balanced with a long stride. Like all mountain ponies they are exceptionally alert, with big, bright eyes, large nostrils and small ears.
The body is deep and well-muscled, the legs powerful and the hooves round with silky 'feather' (hair), mane, & tail. Fell ponies are black, brown, bay or grey, a star on the forehead, or white on or below the hind fetlock is allowed.
Protecting Fell Pony heritage
Fell Ponies are part of the our heritage in Cumbria because of the relation between humanity and its environment. The semi-wild herds of Fell ponies have helped create that landscape. Yet you can go into the streets in the local towns and ask people if they know about them and 9 out of 10 people don't. We should be raising more awareness of these hill-bred ponies, their small numbers on the Cumbrian fells need to be treasured, not destroyed.
Did you know that…
Fell Ponies are native to the Cumbrian fells and have developed characteristics unique to that environment.
Semi wild herds of Fell ponies helped create the landscape of the Lake District and conserve the flora and fauna through their grazing?
Fell ponies were used as working animals on hill farms and were crucial to their success?
The Fell Pony is now an endangered species?
The traditional skills in using ponies in hill farm work are being lost?
The current farming owners of Fell ponies on the fells are challenged on a daily basis to keep them there.
Safeguarding the Fell Pony
It is becoming more important to help in safeguarding the part, the Fell Pony has made in Cumbria's equine heritage and to show the wider public the importance of maintaining their presence on the Cumbrian fells. The Fell Pony has been bred on the upland fells for centuries by the farmers who have allocated grazing rights to their farms, which has been part of the Commons benefits to the farming community since the 13th century.
The Fell Ponies way of life on the upland fell as semi-wild ponies living in breeding herds, has kept the ponies true characteristics of hardiness, the breeds activity roaming their fell gives them great balance, with the ability and stamina to survive all the year round.
The Fell Pony is listed as a rare breed due to the fact there are about 6,500 pure bred ponies in the whole world with around 360 foals born per year world wide with only 18% of them born to hill breeding herds. Ultimately we need to raise the profile of these hill breeders as they are the ones every other Fell pony breeder has to go back to from time to time to buy stock from so to ensure the natural genetics are kept so their ability to survive on the fell remains.