The Queen has been involved with the breeding and showing of Fell ponies for many years and is currently the Fell Pony Society’s patron.
This year’s Royal Windsor will host Platinum Jubilee celebrations for The Queen and 2022 also marks 100 years since the Fell Pony Society was founded.
The Fell pony parade, led by the late Duke of Edinburgh’s granddaughter Lady Louise Windsor, will take place in Windsor’s main ring following the Horse & Hound-supported mountain and moorland in-hand championship.
The Queen became patron of the Fell Pony Society in 1982, and the Duke of Edinburgh competed his Fell ponies for many years at national level in the pony teams class with a team of four.
“More than 30 Fells of different ages, both in hand and ridden, will travel from all over the country to take part in the parade,” said chairman of the Fell Pony Society centenary celebrations, Jane Rawden. “The ponies will present themselves in front of Her Majesty with a salute to thank her for her generous support and commitment to the breed over the years. The society will also present Her Majesty with specially commissioned gifts.
“In October 1922, a meeting was held at the Crown Hotel in Penrith, where it was resolved and carried unanimously that a Fell Pony Society should be formed, and that the annual subscription should be five shillings. The aim of the society was simply “to foster and keep pure the old breed of pony that has roamed the fells for years”.
Jane personally wrote to The Queen in hopes of securing a spot at Windsor:
“We initially thought it would just be a handful of ponies, but Her Majesty asked for between 20 and 30,” added Jane. “We wanted to get a mix of top-end showing ponies currently on the circuit and those who are perhaps retired or have succeed in other disciplines.”
The society’s centenary year is being celebrated throughout the season and other events include an opening at the breed’s annual stallion show, a parade of stallions and the Fell pony display team’s country-wide tour.
“We are also holding a ball during the summer and will be launching an educational video which has been in the pipeline for some time,” said Jane. “We also have more than 500 ponies and their owners riding 100 miles through the year. The centenary celebrations really seem to have reconnected the Fell pony community outside Cumbria. Enthusiasts from all over the world have been sharing their stories of their ponies and we’ve been blown away by the response.”
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