“The Belle Mare” is a painting at the Kendal Museum. It depicts a pack pony fully loaded, likely with wool. Dated from 1757 by the artist Robert Tebay, it’s a perfect illustration for the following passage from Clive Richardson’s book The Fell Pony: “At one time over 300 Fell ponies left Kendal every working day for destinations all over the country carrying cargo as diverse as woolen stockings, fresh fish, tanned hides, live chickens and bolts of cloth.” (1)
Because of the rough terrain in the north of England, good roadways weren’t common in some places until the mid 1800s, so pack horse trains were the solution for moving goods from farm or mine to market. In this country, pack horses have also been used to navigate unroaded terrain. I’ll share more on this topic in the next issue of The Partnered Pony™ Inquirer, a new publication from Willowtrail Farm. Hope to see you there!
1) Richardson, Clive. The Fell Pony. J.A. Allen, Allen Guides to Horse and Pony Breeds, 2000, p. 5.