I will be envious of anyone attending the Fell Pony Society Sale this Friday and especially envious of the person who purchases Burnhead Prince Charles. This colt is out of my all-time favorite mare in the breed, Burnhead Molly. If he weren’t related to one of my mares, I’d be raiding my retirement funds (again!) to bring him to the mountains of Colorado. He’s related to my mare on his sire’s side; someday I hope to have a pony of his dam’s lineage. The picture shows me with her several years ago.
I notice there won’t be a pre-sale show this year. That’s too bad, as the one I attended in 2006 was very helpful in my Fell Pony education. It is where I finally understood what good Fell Pony action looks like. I watched Bert Morland of the Lunesdale stud showing a mare that he was selling; she went on to be champion of the show. When I saw Bert in the ring, I perked up and paid attention, as I knew he was a “stickler for movement; if they don’t move I don’t want to know.” (From Sue Millard’s Hoofprints in Eden, p. 58.) Movement is one of the things that the Morlands say is disappearing from the breed. I know it took me a long time to see it, and now that I know, I have to agree that it is hard to find. Of all the ponies on the Fell Pony Society’s DVD, there were only two that had the action that I’ve been told is desirable.
There should be some good movers at this sale. In addition to Burnhead Prince Charles, there will be a couple of Restar geldings that should move well, though it will be hard to see in the ring. I look forward to first-hand reports from Penrith.
And it will be interesting to see how much of a role the new FIS carrier test plays at the auction. Carrier status should always be secondary to breed type in choosing ponies, especially breeding stock. For the sake of the breed, I hope purchasers bear this in mind, though I’ve already heard at least one seller advertising carrier status (clear obviously). I look forward to hearing what is said from people who are able to attend. It will say a lot about the future of our breed.