Have you ever seen an unwanted Fell Pony? I have, and it’s not an experience I want to repeat. Unwanted Fell Ponies, of course, are only a miniscule part of the much larger unwanted horse/horse overpopulation problem. For every pony I sell, I make a donation to Shiloh Acres Horse Rescue so that the problem of horse overpopulation is not one I can ignore. Given that many rescues feel breeders are the problem – producing too many horses – cultivating a relationship with a rescue as a breeder seems important to keeping both minds and lines of communication open.
As a breeder selling ponies, of course, I am always at risk of having one of my ponies become unwanted. I take that eventuality very seriously and utilize a number of strategies to reduce the risk that my heart will be broken by one of my ponies becoming unwanted (see my article “Breeding with Intent” for more information). One way that I hope to help other breeders and the Fell Pony breed as a whole avoid unwanted Fell Ponies, is with Mare Mingle™ for North American Fell Pony mare owners. (If non-North American mare owners are interested, I could offer something similar. If this appeals to you, let’s talk.)
The goal of Mare Mingle™ is to help mare owners make informed breeding decisions. The service assesses the relatedness of the client’s mare to all the licensed stallions in North America. When I was viewing the list of stallions sorted by relatedness on a client’s report, though, it was obvious how much more there is to making a breeding decision. That’s why factors to consider when making a breeding decision are also discussed in a Mare Mingle ™ report. In addition, a Fell Pony Breeding Handbook is provided with detailed information on the factors I consider critically important to Fell Pony breeding decisions. There is only upside potential for the Fell Pony breed when mare owners make informed decisions.
There are many strategies that can be used to avoid unwanted Fell Ponies. Each of us who loves the breed makes our own unique contribution. I am hopeful that Mare Mingle™ will be yet another strategy that can help me and others avoid the heartache of ever again seeing an unwanted Fell pony.
You can find out more about Mare Mingle™ on willowtrailfarm.com by clicking here.
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2014