I love getting questions from people about Fell Ponies because in answering them I inevitably learn something new. So I was thrilled to find a question in my inbox. And I must admit it was a different sort of question than any I’ve gotten before. Nonetheless, I responded to the Fell Pony owner saying their pony was lucky to have them because they were paying such good attention to their pony.
The question was whether Fell Ponies are known to be adverse to pooping on trail rides. I’ve taken more trail rides on Fell Ponies than I can count, and I can honestly say I’ve never noticed this ‘problem.’ I have, however, noticed that many Fells have very discernible elimination habits, likely based on physiological as well as psychological factors. I asked my inquirer to consider the following questions: Are trail rides new to this pony? Perhaps they are uncomfortable with this new activity and will change their defecation pattern when they are more comfortable? Is there a change in the feeding regimen on trail ride days versus other days that might explain the ‘problem?’ Does the pony have set elimination habits on other days?
Many of my Fell Ponies come to greet me at feeding time, but some walk away. Initially I was bothered when those ponies walked away from me, thinking they weren’t interested in interacting with me. Soon, though, I realized they knew I was there to feed them, and they were going off to relieve themselves before eating.
It’s not just Fell Ponies, of course, that have elimination habits. I have a pony who is like clockwork when he gets in the horse trailer. Not exactly what I would choose since it means I have to clean the trailer every time I haul him, even for a short distance!
I understand my inquirer’s concern about their pony’s elimination habit, since on a trail ride of any significant length, a pony really should eliminate at least once. I’m sure the two of them will eventually get ‘the problem’ sorted out, since the owner is so clearly interested in their pony’s welfare.
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2017
I’ve put the asnwers to many questions I’ve received about Fell Ponies in my books, including What an Honor, available internationally by clicking on the book image or by clicking here.