The Harness Cupboard

Harness cupboard

Dalemain's use of Fell ponies

At Dalemain, ponies have been used for all purposes, from shepherding to private driving, hunting and pleasure riding. Whether they were carrying out light jobs on the estate and on the farms, snigging timber out of the woodlands, carrying red deer shot in Martindale Forest, or pulling a sled to bring hay home down the lower slopes, these tough ponies were always at hand. lawn boots

The harness cupboard contains sets of high quality brown harness for driving 2 wheeled varnished country vehicles, and fine bridles with decorated blinkers.

Lawn boots

You didn't know ponies wore boots? These (right) were strapped on to prevent the pony's hoofs damaging the grass as he pulled the lawn mower.

Safety Stirrup

toe stirrups

safety stirrup from a side saddleThis stirrup (left) comes from a lady's side saddle and is designed to swivel if by chance she fell from her mount. The lower arch swings back towards her foot and the tread swings down, releasing her. The leather covering on the top arch saves wear on her boot instep during normal use. This pattern of safety stirrup is similar to that used by Cope, the sidesaddle makers.

Unusual stirrups

These two small stirrups (right) are referred to as "toe stirrups". They are probably older than the sidesaddle stirrup above. It would be interesting to know what kind of saddle they came from; a sidesaddle? possibly a pillion pad? If you know, please share your knowledge with us. One reader says (June 2005):"about the slipper stirrup, it is indeed older than the safety stirrup. In Europe these were used on a side saddle till 1850 when they started to use the safety stirrup. Apparently they used them longer in the States. "

Legacy of shows past

Dalemain ponies' rosettes

Dalemain ponies were regularly successful in the show ring and the rosette case has evidence of their wins.

Notes from the Cumberland & Westmorland Herald, 6 March 1915

The Fell Pony Committee met at the Tufton Arms, Appleby. It was decided to award 5 premiums for Fell pony stallions for the local districts on the same terms as last year but the committee could refuse an entry if they chose, especially if a stallion had already stood in the district for the previous 3 years. "They had a glaring case at Shap where a stallion and its son had travelled the district for a considerable number of years. The idea was to introduce new blood into the district." The stallions were to be shown at the following places and dates, before the named judges:

in Appleby on Saturday 10 April, by Mr T Tarn of Hilton, and Mr J Bargh of Tebay;

at Middleton in Teesdale on Thursday 15 April by Mr H Holme and Mr J Hawell;

at Kirkby Stephen on Monday 19 April by Dr Gibson of Orton and Mr T Wales of Lownthwaite;

at Keswick on Saturday 24th April by Mr L Burton, Kirkby Stephen and Mr J Dargue, Bow Hall;

and at Shap on Tuesday 4 May by Mr J Swinburn, Gowbarrow Hall, and Mr E Handley, Ravenstonedale. In a later edition of the Herald that month (27 March 1915) Shap Agricultural Society reported that the Fell Pony Committee's premium for a stallion to travel Shap District was £40. The show of stallions was also noted as taking place on "Shap Fair Day".

Agricultural shows did continue during the War years. The reports of Show societies discussing the issue in 1915 suggest that it was touch and go whether they went ahead; the main argument for continuing was that farming was essential and it was important to encourage the improvement of stock.

Stallion Obituary in the Cumberland & Westmorland Herald, 1934

"Dalesman, the greatest Fell or Dales pony stallion of the last 25 years, has died. He was bred by Mr R. Bousfield of Great Asby and was owned by Mr John Relph of Newby."