Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fell Ponies

I got into Fell Ponies by accident, really. I was looking for a horse to buy and having no luck finding a nice cob, which is what I thought I wanted. Someone said "Try the different native pony societies, they often have a sales list." The Fell Pony Society was really efficient in sending me theirs, and before I knew it, I owned Iona!

Looking back, a Fell was probably exactly what I wanted. I used to help out at riding schools, escorting the paying customers out on rides and things like that. Although I enjoyed a variety of horses, there always seemed to be a hairy black pony that I was drawn to at each place. Probably a Fell or Dales cross. By the time I was looking for a second horse (pony) it had to be another Fell. Besides just liking the look of hairy black ponies, I like Fells for their well developed horsenalities! I also value their hardiness and all the attributes they have derived from their semi-feral existence on the Pennines. While some very skilled selective breeding has made them what they are today, it is perhaps the result of a high degree of natural selection in their earlier history which gives them the attributes I like most.

Recently, a few Fell owners and breeders have been in touch with me because of this blog. As it turns out, a couple of them are also people who have done a lot of thinking and writing about Fell Ponies, the history of the breed and the future of the breed. I would like to post a few links here to their websites and books. They have not asked me to do this. But I feel that what they have to say is important. interesting. and well written.

So first up - Jenifer Morrissey. Jenifer has owned and bred Fell Ponies in Colorado for a number of years. I admire her because she enjoys putting ponies to a purpose, and is a careful and caring breeder. She has a lot of thought provoking things to say about breeding Fells, and especially about doing this so far away from their native habitat. She is also an excellent writer. Here is a link to her website Willowtrail Farm . While you're there, check out the newsletter section, she has written some great articles over the years. Jenifer has also recently published a book called A Humbling Experience about her personal experiences with Fells. If you are enjoying this blog, this book will probably be right up your street. Jenifer and I have recently been discussing the possibility of a "summer camp" for some of her youngstock, here at my place. Watch this space!

I was also pleased to hear from Sue Millard that she had enjoyed looking at this blog. Sue is a well known writer and tireless promoter of Fells. Her book Hoofprints in Eden is one of the best, if not the best, book ever written on Fells, Fell breeders and their traditional way of life. One of my all time favorite books!

It was also nice to hear from Jennifer Costa, a Fell breeder in Oregon. Here is a link to the website about her place Stirling Ridge Farm


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