It’s hard to believe that my Fell Pony mare Lunesdale Silver Belle has been here three months already. I’ve grown so used to her greeting me at the fence at each feeding that it’s hard to remember when she wasn’t here! For her first few weeks, I had her isolated from the herd so she could grow used to the routines here of vehicles coming and going, machines beeping, dogs barking, and moose wandering by. I also wanted to give her cardiovascular system a chance to acclimate to our altitude. I remember all too well what it was like to move here from sea level twenty six years ago and have trouble catching my breath. I didn’t want any trouble for Ellie if the herd ran her around.
As it turned out, she ran the herd around when I introduced her to them rather than they her. I have her in with my youngstock and oldest mare. I had hoped that Sleddale Rose Beauty would retain lead mare status, but Ellie wasted no time in asserting herself. So far she hasn’t attracted any followers from Beauty’s entourage, but the two young geldings can occasionally be seen sharing hay with her.
I’ve been especially interested to see where Ellie spends most of her time, and it’s at the fence closest to Apollo and Shelley. When Ellie was here two years ago, those two were her paddock-mates, and she was low pony in the herd. I often wonder if she preferred that status to the one she has now, as at Moonlit Fell Pony Farm, Elise tells me Ellie was content to be low in the hierarchy.
As the temperatures are on a descent to below zero tonight, I’ve realized I’ve taken one of Ellie’s characteristics very much for granted. She is definitely hardy, as she has had absolutely no trouble relocating to our very wintry climate. Being fell bred, I expected this, but there isn’t a much more extreme test than moving from the temperate northwest of this country to 9,000 feet in the Colorado Rockies in October!