The most famous admirers of the Fell Pony have been in the news in recent weeks. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, at the age of 90, was photographed riding her favorite mare Carltonlima Emma in late October along the banks of the Thames. (1) Her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, age 95, was seen driving a four-in-hand of Fells at Windsor around the same time. (2) As the age of all equestrians increases, having these high-profile examples of elder equestrians using Fell Ponies is tremendous for our breed.
When we steward a pure breed, we are members of our breed society. As members of our breed society, we receive regular communications including about the financial affairs of the organization. The Fell Pony Society annually sends its financial reports to its members. Also usually on an annual basis, the Society expresses its appreciation to its Patron, Her Majesty, for a generous donation in support of the Society’s work.
Her Majesty is known for her generous support of charitable causes. I have always assumed her support of the Fell Pony Society was due in large part to her personal experience with the breed. Other than the Queen and Prince Philip, though, I have never seen another member of the Royal Family show any interest in our breed. On the contrary, I’ve read that Kate Middleton, whose husband Prince William is second in line to the throne, is said to be allergic to horses. I have worried that in contrast to today, a future monarch’s family might have absolutely no interest in our breed at all, with consequences not only financially for the Fell Pony Society but also from a promotional and visibility standpoint.
I was delighted, then, to learn that another member of the Royal Family has recently been photographed with a Fell Pony. Lady Louise, age 13, was not just with a Fell Pony; she was driving a single Fell, taking after her grandfather. (3) Lady Louise is 11th in line to the throne and has previously suffered a broken arm when she came off a pony. I take great hope from the news of Lady Louise’s interest in driving a Fell, especially since she’d previously had a bad experience with a pony. I look forward to any future news of Lady Louise and Fell Ponies.
- Miller, Shari. “Queen rides high,” at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3887256/Queen-rides-high-Elizabeth-90-defies-years-takes-fields-banks-Thames-Windsor-Head-Groom.html
- Wilkes, David. “You can’t rein me in!”, at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3891950/You-t-rein-Philip-driving-force-95-takes-carriage-early-morning-jaunt-Windsor.html
- Shakespeare, Sebastian. “Lady Louise follows in Grandpa’s hoof prints,” at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3959316/Lady-Louise-follows-Grandpa-s-hoof-prints-Teenage-royal-seen-driving-carriage-Windsor-Great-Park.html
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2016