Horse Podcast Ep 94: Mountains & Moors – The Fell Pony of Cumbria

Equestrian Adventuresses Travel and Horse Podcast Ep 94 - Mountains & Moors - The Fell Pony of Cumbria

Today is the first episode of our new Horse Breeds around the World Series. We start with a famous British Pony breed, the Fell Pony of North England. Its home is in the Lake District and it takes its name from the word fell which is another term for hill or mountain. The Fell pony is a hardy breed, well suited for a life outside in the often harsh and wet weather of the mountains of Cumbria. Ute talks with Libby Robinson, Fell Pony Breeder and founder of the Fell Pony Heritage Trust. Libby tells us all about the origin of the Fell Pony, its uses and how the Fell Pony is a conservation grazer and has shaped the landscape of its home on the fells. But the future of the pony is not very bright with declining numbers and farmers giving up the tradition of pony keeping. Libby tries to create awareness of the role of the Fell Pony in the region and hopes that more young people can connect and help in saving it.

Horse Breeds Around the World

Different breeds and horse cultures

There are around 400 horse breeds in the world from the popular ones such as Frisians, Thoroughbred, Arabians or Quarter Horses to the lesser known ones such as Caspian Pony, Noitgedachter or Marwari. Many breeds are restricted to their home countries and some are threatened or nearly extinct. In our Horse Breeds Around the World Series we want to introduce some of the lesser known breeds to you and what role they play in their home country.

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Our Guests today:

Libby Robinson (Great Britain)

Horse breeder and founder of the Fell Pony Heritage Trust. Find out more on its website.

Fell Pony Heritage Trust

The Fell Pony is one of Great Britain’s indigenous Mountain and moorland pony breeds. Its home is in Cumbria, in North England. It is classified as a rare breed with around 6500 pure bred ponies left worldwide. They come in the colours black, bay and grey and are up to 14 hands or 1.42 m tall. Its name comes from the North English term fell for hill or highland. The ponies have lived in their homelands since the Bronze Age and are related to other Celtic pony breeds such as the Dales Pony or the Highland Pony. Traditionally the ponies were kept semi-wild on the fells and the farmers would bring them in if they had work for them as pack horses or on their farm. Being out on the hills the whole year around, the Fell Ponies have shaped the landscape and the ecology of the Lake District. Today they are known as a versatile pony breed for riding and driving and are noted for their hardiness, sure-footedness and strength.

Don’t forget to check out the resources section in this article!


  • Origin & Characteristics of the Fell Pony
  • Why the Fell Pony is important in maintaining the ecology of its region?
  • Why it is threatened?
  • What is a conservation grazer?
  • What is the Fell Pony used for?

Thank you for tuning in and happy trails!

Special Announcement

Today’s episode is sponsored by Stone Horse Expeditions in Mongolia

Please take a moment to check out Stone Horse Expeditions in Mongolia. They are a full service Expedition and Travel company in Mongolia where they offer horse treks through the vast wilderness. They ensure that Ecotourism guidelines are followed and a keen interest in the Protection of Nature and the Environment in Mongolia. At Stone Horse expeditions you will get to experience the Mongolian horse and they will be your trusted colleague while you trek through the beautiful countryside.

Grab your books and audiobooks now! Incredible true stories of horse riding travel adventures around the world.

Do you feel that we are missing out on an important topic? Or maybe you have an interesting story to tell? Contact Heather or Ute!


Thanks for listening to our horse podcast for Equestrian Adventuresses!

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