The Fell Pony November 08 2015
Native to the North of England, Fell ponies can be largely found in the old counties of Cumberland and Westmorland – what we now refer to as Cumbria. The Vikings kept the breeding stock on the fells and used the ponies for pack work as well as ploughing, pulling sledges and riding.
As the centuries progressed, the ponies were used for more pack work, including carrying iron ore and agricultural products. It was the wool trade which caused the use of the Fell pony to increase. The Fell is a good walker and is steady, strong and fast. It is also small enough to be loaded with ease. The Fells were organised into pack trains to carry cloth and in the winter of 1492-1493, eleven traders from Kendal made fourteen journeys to Southampton with cloth.
The Fells were used to carry iron, copper and lead ores from Cumbria to the smelting works. They also went to Newcastle with this iron and lead and came back with coal. Indeed they were used in the coal mines of the northeast until well into the 1900s, both underground and above ground. In the remote areas, pack pony trains became the main means of transporting goods.
As far as pedigrees are concerned, Fell ponies were first registered in the Polo and Riding Pony Stud Book in 1898. The Fell ponies are well known for their ground covering trot. The Fell Pony Society was formed in 1922 and its purpose was to make sure that the old breed of pony was kept pure. The increase in riding for pleasure has now resulted in more ponies being registered with the society.
With thanks to: The Fell Pony Museum and Richardson 1990 The Fell Pony