Recognising the Value of the Native Breeds

The Polo Pony Stud Book, formed in 1893, made "the first organised attempt to place the registration of various native breeds of British ponies" when it began to register native stock in its Volume V, in 1898. Its aim was to produce a small "blood" pony for the playing of polo, with no breeding pony admitted over the height of 14-2 hands. All new entries were to be inspected, although stock from two registered parents would be accepted without inspection no matter what their height.

For this the Highland and the Fell Ponies were represented by a joint committee, which in 1898 only the Fell pony supporters attended. In that year 6 Fells and 5 "Scotch" ponies were registered.

THE REGISTRATION OF FELL PONIES - Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, Friday 31 March 1899

... promises that Fell ponies shall have separate space in the next volume of the Polo Pony Society’s Stud Book, and asks for the name and address of any gentleman willing to help in the matter. Like begets like ...

By Volume VI (1899), the two breeds were both represented and recorded.

The Introduction to Volume V stated that "the one great recommendation [for inclusion of native stock in the stud book] should be the power of the animal to live and thrive in the winter time without any adventitious sustenance, while there are many characteristics which all these possess in common, notably, the clean-cut head, small ears, bright full eye, and well-curved nostril, together with a strong predisposition to the brown colour with light tan or mealy points ... "

Old-fashioned breeders in the 20th C such as Ted Benson still liked the brown colour for its hardiness: "them broon un's are bad t' kill on't fell."

(continues into 20th C )