The Fell Pony

by Kathryn King Johnson, M.Ed.

Waverhead Robbie of Laurel Highland Farm

Currently there are only about 20 Fell ponies in the United States, but these 14 hand black, feathered ponies are native to Northern England. They closely resemble the Friesian, except for their much smaller size. In fact, both the Shire and the Fell Pony supposedly evolved from the Friesian. More than 1000 Friesians were brought to England around 55 BC either by the Romans or by their mercenaries. Many stallions were left to breed with the native ponies. So, the Fell Pony, the Old English Black, now merged with the Shire, and several other extinct breeds are all direct descendants of the Friesian.

Haltcliff Rufus of Musta Hevonen Farm

Photo by Penny Randell

The Fell is used for riding and driving: Prince Phillip has a team of them that he drives and HRH the Queen is Patron of the Fell Pony Society in the UK. In the past, most Fells were black or dark-colored, but grey was introduced because the monks who rode them preferred white ponies. Today, Fells can be any solid color, and can have a little white star and some white below the hind fetlock. For more information on the Fell Pony go to:

For the most comprehensive website of all breeds that I can find, go to the Oklahoma State Web Site at the following URL:

For Fells pony breeding farms in America and more information on Fells, go to the following links:

The breed standard is governed by:

The Fell Pony Society

Keepers Cottage



Northumberland NE65 9AA

For information on the Gypsy Vanner horse, another rare breed, check out this website: