A Question of Breeding

Fillies to foal as 3 year olds?

There were few show classes in the late 19th C for 3 year old horses or ponies, except now and again classes for 3 year old geldings: does this mean that fillies were expected to be in foal or in work by then?

Breeding "a Fell" or "a useful sort"?

stud card for Mountain Hero 2nd.

Fell pony breeders of the late 19th C may not originally have been breeding "a Fell pony" but "a useful sort". Some fancied the Highland, Welsh cob, Dale, Hackney and Norfolk Roadster "types" as additions to the stock. The Secretary for the Northern Committee of the National Pony Society wrote in 1914 that "It must be borne in mind that the Highland Pony, ie the original Galloway, and our own, now called the Fell Pony, are of one and the same foundation breed, and the interchange of stallions between the two districts in which they are bred has been continuous from time out of mind."

There are Wilson ponies recorded in the background of "Fell" ponies in the early years. For instance Little Wonder, who was bred by C W Wilson and was chestnut or bright bay, was a grandson of Sir George ; and of his son Little Wonder II's photograph, the FPS chairman has said, "Not by any stretch of the imagination could you call that a Fell". But Little Wonder is 'in the book' as a grandsire of at least one registered Fell pony, Heather's Model 381.

A wide variety of introduced blood is registered in the early ponies, particularly the stallions, though it begins to recede into history by the 1920s:

  • Sir George and his son Sir Richard, who descended partly from Thoroughbred and partly from Norfolk Roadster stock;
  • The Mikado who was skewbald yet said to trace back to Flying Childers [TB] and to the Shales breed of Norfolk Trotters;
  • Norfolk Swell, a 14.2 or 14.3 black Norfolk Cob;
  • Yorkshire Fashion, a 15 hand "pure Dales cob", but also said to be by a Norfolk cob;
  • Daybreak, by Norfolk Cob;
  • General Gordon, who at 14.2 was suspiciously large for a "Fell";
  • Valence Heather, ditto, at 15 hands although he was by Blooming Heather -- 13.2;
  • Beacon Swell, ditto, at 15 hands and chestnut;
  • a bay Exmoor mare from the Acland herd;
  • Telegraph, a grey half bred Arab stallion;
  • Dalesman, 14 hh (572 in Dales Stud Book);
  • Guy Mannering (937 Dales);
  • Glengarry (1019 Dales);
  • Teasdale Comet (904 Dales) who was a 14.2 grey;
  • Brown Jock, 14.3 (973 Dales);
  • Yorkshire Champion, brown 14 hh;-- surely not a "pure Fell Pony" with a Yorkshire name?;
  • Chepstow Boy -- surely not a "pure Fell Pony" with a Welsh town name?;
  • Lowthian Prince 14.1 or 14.2 who was recorded as the sire of General Pride 641, though he was not himself eligible to be registered by the Polo Society because he was by Royal Lothian (Clydesdale);
  • Park End Fanny, a black and white mare by Park End King;
  • Sporting Times 916, a black and white stallion out of Park End Fanny by Valence Heather.

Many of the sires in the early years were not defined as any breed at all. They were just good ponies -- and sometimes, horses: it appears that if there was any consistency in the breed, it was the dams which perpetuated the Fell type.