The Fell pony
Charm * Wit * repose
The presence of a Fell pony is truly a delightful experience. We have owned, worked with, trained dozens of Fell ponies finding a common thread of attributes that makes them our first choice for versatile relationship based partners.
Take Me to the River
Out of the dozens of ponies we have ridden, only one showed a lack of enthusiasm for water. After a long hot day, they love to splash and paw in it. I had one mare who would daily stand in our 100 gallon water trough and splash 'til the splash was no more. Bing is our biggest water baby. Naquel can park him in the middle of a creek and he will stay put while she swims around.
Check This Out
A Natural Explorer
Not only have I found that Fell ponies tend to act more on perceptual curiosity over skepticism, they show good measure of enthusiasm to understand and learn new things. Working with this breed has taught me to use a more collective approach to learning and training. Rather than approaching with a 'respect the dictator' type method, the mindset is 'we are learning, navigating, problem solving together'.
In a Small Package
The Little Leapers
Although jumping is not our 'thing', it is something we like to play around with once in a while. Naquel tried the jumping class at one of her high school equestrian events. Our first discovery of these little leapers is when Bing cleared a 3' fence with 2 strides of trot. When Braeberry Ruby was 2 yr. she cleared 3' standing still. Little 13.1hh StirlingRidge Marguerite was constantly jumping our 2'8" temporary fence to get to greener pastures.
Covering that Ground
Fell ponies do have 3 distinct gaits with trot quite often being preferred over canter. The cool thing is, many can really move out at the trot with great speed. It's a very different feeling when they do this, leveling out to where posting is no longer necessary.
Braeberry Bonnie Lass
Less is More
We have found this breed to be extremely responsive if you ask appropriately, with fairness and lightness. Constant contact in the bridle and with leg seems to cause resistance rather than responsiveness. We are amazed at the responsiveness and motivation we get with Fell ponies when we ride loose rein, using leg and seat for direction. We also find this breed to respond better if they are providedversatile cognitive experiences rather than disciplines that are repetitive in patterns and muscle memory.
Braeberry Princess Eleanor
The Gentle Approach
Just recently, I was chatting with 2 fellas in my pasture about some needed fence repairs. One of the young mares spotted us and quietly made her way over. The gentlemen had their backs to her and were not aware of her approach. She was standing right behind them and slowly lowered her head on the shoulder of one from behind. It was a delightful surprise to see. I love the gentle way these ponies approach life and the discovery of new things in their world.
StoneCreek Black Crystal
Six Foot Navigation
Every pony we have worked with learns navigation via long lines prior to backing. We have never done any hitching with Fell ponies, but they are known for being quite suitable for carting. We have also done more technical/dressage type long line work and found the ponies to do very well with it.
JKL Istas (right)
CopperBeech Casper (below)
Braeberry Victor (below right)
My mountain goat pony.
Like many Fell ponies, Copper loves to do challenging things with his body. It's very rare for us to have a Fell pony lack confidence with where they put their feet.
Working with these ponies together is a delight. Quite often I can catch and lead 3-4 ponies out of the pasture at a time. This is because they have very little drama, show genuine interest in working and getting along together. Even our Fell stallion can be loaded in the trailer with mixed company and behave cohesively on an excursion.
Master of Standstill
When Fell ponies know the job and understand the environment, they can be fairly reliable in their composure. They show a desire to trust and seem to appreciate liberal acts of trust in them. We have several Fell ponies that have behaved exceptionally at liberty. Many become more reliable, more at ease with less control.
To Boldly Go
Safe, Sensible, Sure-footed
We are serious trail riders, mt. trail and extreme trail competitors. We have taken many other breeds on trails who were just fine. But hands-down our preference is to navigate atrail with a Fell pony.
StoneCreek Fawkes Mistique
The First to Welcome
Meet Me at the Gate
Even on 40 acres, left to their world for days, they always come to meet us and see what we are up to. I have heard stories of herds that are still raised semi-feral in Cumbria who have this same attitude. Quite often, if I have work to do on fences or in the pasture, they hang close by showing curiosity for what I am doing.
StoneCreek Black Crystal (right) and part-bred FiddleHead Harimanna
The Kid in Us
The presence of a Fell pony has the power to let down guards. I believe their demeanor and size gives us permission to approach them in a more lighthearted and jovial way.
Yes I Would Like That
Go When You Ask For It
We have put several Fell ponies on cows and they really enjoy moving them. I did a cow sorting clinic with Copper a few years back and he was all over it. This clinic also had us trying to move cows through obstacles. It was great fun.
CopperBeech Casper (left)
Here are some videos of a few of the ponies we have worked with.
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