The Fell and Dales ponies are both native English breeds.  They are very similar and thought to have the same origins, and are geographical neighbors.  They are both well loved by their owners, and are very useful and versatile.

Dales Pony

The Dales pony is native to England and shares common ancestors with the Fell pony.  They are both from the county of Pennines, with the Dales from the east, and the Fell from the north and west.  The Dales is a very old breed, and is most likely the ancestor of an old Fresian horse breed that is now extinct.  This is not the only blood the Dales is influenced by though.  There have been many other infusions of blood to improve upon the breed, and almost all were successful except for the attempt to infuse Clydesdale characteristics.

The Dales pony was originally bred for farm work, and to carry very heavy loads.  One of their main jobs was to transport lead from the mines at Durham and Northumberland to the smelters.  Dales farmers loved them due to their stamina and strength, but also because they were well suited to the climate and terrain, and proved to be easy keepers.

Today the Dales is well loved for its trot, which came from the infusion of a Welsh stallion named comet over 100 years ago.  The ponies are used for pleasure riding and driving.  They are a popular choice for the tourist industry due to their kind and even temperaments.  They are also used in areas where a tractor is not wanted or where they can perform better than a tractor.  They can pull heavy loads very fast, and are still used under harness for jobs that require this talent.

They stand up to 14.2 hands tall, and are very neat and fine in appearance.  They have an attractive head, and a refined jaw and throatlatch.  Their neck is short and thick, and their bodies are strong and sound.  Their hooves are well formed, and their manes and tails are thick and flowing.  They also have feathering around their fetlocks.  They are generally black, or dark brown in color.

Fells Pony

The Fells pony is closely related to the Dales pony, and is found in the northern and western areas of the Pennines and also in Cumbria.  It is also thought to have Fresian blood, but the main influence is believed to be the now extinct Galloway pony.

The Galloway was a Scottish breed, and was known fro being exceptionally tough and hardy.  It is thought that the Galloway had a great influence on many breeds, including the Dales pony and even the English Thoroughbred. The Fell pony has stayed quite pure in blood, mostly due to the efforts of the Fell Pony Society, which was formed in the year 1912 to promote and protect the purity of the breed.

The Fells pony was originally bred to carry lead from the mines to the smelters, and was also developed as a pack animal and a harness pony.  They are also very well known for their trot, and can cover a great distance in a short period of time.

Today they are used as harness as well as riding ponies, and they excel in both these ares.  They are very athletic, surefooted and versatile, and have a great disposition as well.  They are well loved as children’s ponies, and due to their size, they also can carry adults.

The Fell pony should be neat and attractive in appearance.  Their head should be refined, and they should have a well crested and longer neck.  The body should be longer, with well-sprung ribs, and a strong, well muscled back.  The hind quarters should also exhibit good muscling, and their hocks should be set closer to the ground.  The legs should be strong, with shorter cannon bones and a nice, clean knee.  The hooves are well formed and sound. They have a very long mane and tail, with an abundant forelock, as well as a good amount of feathering on the legs.  They stand between 13 and 14 hands.  In general they are bay, black or brown, but grays are allowed.  They should not have an abundance of white, and if too much white is present the pony will not be allowed in the studbook, as this is seen as an indication of crossbreeding.  The Fells pony is smaller and lighter in build than the Dales pony, but both are excellent specimens, and are well loved by thier owners and breeders.