Young breeders on a mission to protect and prevent rare native breed from ‘dying out‘

  • A group of young Fell pony enthusiasts are putting steps in place to “prevent the breed from dying out” by encouraging enthusiasts to get involved with the breed.

    The Fell Pony Society Next Generation Group, formerly known as the Fell Pony Society Young Person’s Group was started in 2015, with a rebrand and name change in 2021.

    “In 2021, we reevaluated the group, including removing the age cap to be more inclusive; the events are for anyone of any age who wants to learn about or get involved with Fell ponies,” said group chair Stacy Longrigg, who breeds under the Horngill prefix.

    “The group’s aim is to capture current Fell pony breeders’ knowledge and experience, and share it with future generations. These older breeders won’t be around for ever, and we need to preserve and pass on this wealth of knowledge. It’s so important that we encourage more people to recognise the significance of the few remaining semi-feral Fell pony herds, too. Ultimately, we aim to do what we can to promote and grow the breed, and prevent it from dying out.”

    The Fell pony is currently classified as an at-risk rare breed by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

    The Next Generation Group, which does not require a membership, aims to host educational events such as stud visits, information days and discussions across the country throughout the year.

    On 13 August the group held an open day at the Potter family’s Greenholme Fell Pony Stud in Cumbria. They welcomed over 80 visitors. Anyone interested can find more information online.

    “It provided an amazing opportunity to see the semi-feral Greenholme ponies in their natural surroundings,” said Stacy. “The ponies were marked up and everyone was given a sheet with their information on. We were lucky enough to see three stallions, four yearling colts and mares with their foals who had come in from the fell. The ponies took in the visitors very well despite being used to living in a natural environment with little human interference.

    “There were also picture boards showcasing just a few of the successful Greenholme ponies bred over the years, including the main stallions and mares used at the stud.

    “There were stud books and sales catalogues from past and present, the Fell pony breed standard, information on foal immunodeficiency syndrome, as well as books about Fell ponies and the Fell Pony Society centenary.

    “We also benefited from a group discussion where we asked for thoughts on the best way to gather knowledge and information about the breed. The general consensus was that more people need to be talking, and listening.”

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...