Around eighty to ninety years ago, the Fell Pony was the mode of transportation of choice for transporting lead from mines to docks in Tyneside in Northern England. These ponies carried sixteenths of lead and were herded in groups of twenty. To the side, in pannier manner, they carried eighteenths. This drove was kept together at a steady walk under the direction of a mounted man, and the job of the pony was to travel 240 miles per week.
These ponies were from the Dales and the Fells. During those times, there was no system in place to differentiate between the breeds. Westmorland and Cumberland are geographically separated from Northumberland, Durham, and Yorkshire by the Pennine Hill Range, which functions like a spine running down the middle of Northern England.
Only the most hardy animals are able to survive in this vast expanse of uninhabited moorland since there are so few farms scattered throughout the area. Fell ponies can be found roaming free roughly from the crown of the hills away to the west and in the mountains of Westmorland and Cumberland, which cast a shadow over Windermere, Ullswater, and Derwentwater, as well as the smaller lakes, and doing what they can to maintain life on these precarious and inhospitable hills.
On the other side, far out to the east, lies the home of the Dales pony, which is the brother breed. A Dales pony is a pony that is somewhat stockier and stands an inch or two higher than other ponies. The Fell pony was historically utilized as a pack pony, which meant that it carried a significant amount of weight. Despite this, the Fell pony makes an excellent riding pony; in fact, as a general utility ride-and-drive, he is difficult to top.
The Fell appears to breed marvelously true to type, as seen by the superb show type seen at the National Pony Society’s Annual exhibition held at Roehampton, London, as well as the rough and rather rude animal observed in his native environs. In point of fact, among all of Britain’s mountain and moorland breeds, the Fell is the only one that consistently breeds true to type.
Height that does not exceed 14 hands is the description. Choose a color from black, brown, gray, or bay. The head is quite modest in size and has a broad forehead that tapers towards the nose. The length of the neck is just right, providing a sufficient amount of rein for control. The crest on the stallion’s head is not overly prominent. Shoulders are nicely set back and sloping, not too fine at withers or weighted at point; good, long shoulder blade and well-developed muscles. Both the back and the loins are well developed with muscle. The body is compact, round-ribbed, deep, and thickest at the center. It is also short and well coupled.
The hindquarters are square and muscular, and the tail is placed on in an excellent manner. Feet are of fair size, round, open at heels. The pasterns are quite long and sloped, but not excessively so. The cannon bone is short, and there is plenty of strong bone below the knees, measuring at least 8 inches. The arm has considerable muscularity, and the forelegs are straight and large, with well-formed knees.
The hocks of the hind legs should be well let down and cleanly cut. There should be plenty of bone below the joint. There should be plenty of fine hair (coarse hair is objectionable) at the heels. All of the hair on the hind legs, with the exception of the point of the heel, should be able to be cast in the summer. The pony needs to demonstrate outstanding pace and endurance, as well as a smart and true walk, as well as a well-balanced trot with good knee and hock movement, going well from the shoulder, and flexing the hock. The Fell has a constitution that is as hard as iron, a good pony personality, an alert and active appearance, and great bone. Additionally, The Fell has great pony character.
Although there is now a noticeable difference in height and a very considerable difference in appearance between the two, the fact remains that at one time they were practically identical; the difference in the name is due solely to territorial considerations. Reference has been made to the alliance of the Fell with the Dales Pony, and despite the fact that there is now some difference in height and a very considerable difference in appearance between the two, the fact that they were practically identical in the past
Crossbreeding and the introduction of heavy horse blood have both contributed to a significant shift that now stands between the two species. This transformation has resulted in a significant difference between the two. The Fell Pony Society and the people who breed the ponies are extremely protective of the breed’s genetic integrity, and it is highly doubtful that they will agree to the introduction of any foreign blood, as far as can be determined.
Few of our mountain and moorland breeds are as clearly identifiable as the black or brown Fell Pony because of its very long and very copious and well-curled mane and tail as well as its amply feathered heels for a pony.
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