Thursday, 21 February 2013

The many jobs of the Fell pony

The Fell ponies have an interesting history, and have had many jobs through the years.   They are native to the fells of North West England, and it's thought that the breed was established as far back as the Roman times, when they would have been caught and tamed from their natural habitat, and would have been used by the Romans for transportation of materials to build Hadrian's wall.

About Hadrians wall 

 Fell ponies on the fell

In the winter of 1492-93, 11 Kendal traders made a total of 14 journeys to Southampton with pack horses carrying loads of cloth - a journey of about 300 miles, which even on today's modern roads would be a tough journey !

 Fell ponies were even used for transporting the deceased to graveyards (they are still used today, by undertakers who conduct traditional horse drawn funerals).

Over the years the Fell pony's more domestic duty would have been as a pack pony, transporting minerals from the mines and corn to the mills. They would also have been used on farms for general duties such as harvesting, haymaking and carrying a shepherd across steep terrain.   They were also used to hunt wolves that might have been a threat to the sheep on the fells.

matching fell ponies

It is said that during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Cumbrian smugglers would have used Fell ponies for transporting their contraband from the coast.   

The Post Office also used the Fell pony to deliver the mail to the most remote areas. 
During the late 1800s, trotting races grew in popularity at social events such as shepherds meets and fairs. Many Fell ponies excelled at this sport, with some Fell ponies even attracting local fame.

 Mum and baby


ps - if you click on the photos you can see them larger (and better) :-)

No comments:

Post a Comment