Armitt Talk Series 2024: A Year in the Life of a Hill bred Fell Pony with the Fell Pony Heritage Trust

30 July 2024

Join us at the Armitt Museum to listen to the Fell Pony Heritage Trust discuss a year in the life of a Hill bred pony.

Join us for a talk and presentation following a year in the life of a hill bred pony with Libby from the Fell Pony Heritage Trust. Fell Ponies are part of the heritage of Cumbria because of the relation between humanity and its environment. The semi-wild herds of Fell ponies have helped create that landscape. Yet you can go into the streets in the local towns and ask people if they know about them and 9 out of 10 people don't. The Fell Pony Heritage Trust aims to bring more awareness to the dwindling numbers and encourages local communities to treasure fell ponies.

About the speaker From a very young age of 3 or 4, growing up on her father's farm in Ireland, Libby watched the working partnership the farmhands had with the farm horses, which were still doing most of the jobs on the farm in the early 1960's. By the time she was 8, she was living in Cumbria, and her chosen breed was a Fell Pony for their working versatility and clever nature from growing up on the wild fells. They learned common sense from the herd, which helped them to be working friends you could trust when trained to ride, drive, and work the land, which was her interest in the breed.

From 1979 on, she had a Fell pony or two in her life, making a career for over 10 years with them. Working with her partner on an organic smallholding with pony power, carriage driving instructor, and curator at The Black Country Museum to establish a working carters yard, showing the public all the different jobs the ponies did in the year 1900 in Dudley as a living museum in the West Midlands. From there, Libby went on to farm for 20 years in France on the Charente Limousine near the mountains of the Massif Central region with sheep and breeding Fell Ponies under the Globetrotter prefix. Fell ponies get their name from the Cumbrian fells that they live on and need to stay there for their wilder side, which makes them the breed they are. In 2018, we came home to Cumbria to help the declining hill breeders and hill herds who look after the core of the breed and to work with them to give a strong voice to their cause to keep the Fell Pony on the Fells.

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