The Fell Pony Society Display Team

One Sunday evening in May 2015 I had a phone call from a fellow carriage driver, who had just been to a planning meeting for the August 2015 Lowther Show and Driving Trials. Someone had suggested that the Fell Pony Society might “fill in” some half hour gaps between classes in the Main Arena. Would I please contact the organiser to discuss it?

I phoned him next day and found that the FPS were being offered 2 half hour slots on both Saturday and Sunday. When I asked whether the society could bring a stand to display promotional material and merchandise, the answer was Yes—if we did the four displays, we could have a space free. Lowther is a show with around 40,000 visitors, and trade stand space is extremely expensive, so I was very pleased. When I put the idea to the FPS Council they were naturally keen that we should make as much use of the free publicity as we possibly could. By the time we’d press-ganged enough cast for both days, we were only able to have ONE rehearsal, on foot, at the end of the Breed Show—so performing in the main ring at Lowther was quite a challenge for everyone involved! Our display improved as the weekend went on and certainly demonstrated the versatility of the Fell pony throughout history to the present day. Fell pony enthusiasts in the crowd were complimentary and felt the performance had gone down very well with the public.

Simon Ellis supplied the photographs

Cantering Fell pony and rider in costume
Alison Bell and Lownthwaite Flicka II, costumed for a Concours d'Elegance class

Fell pony and handler in the ring at Lowther
Barbara Potter and Dalefoot Rolo, "a pony off the fell".

a fell pony carrying sacks
Christine Robinson and Linnel Doublet in costume as a pack pony and handler

grey pony with a country carriage
Claire Simpson's grey Greenholme Dillon and a smart country carriage

fell pony shepherding
Ellie Mitchell and Greenholme Flora, a shepherding pony

fell pony pulling a log with 2 people in high vis jackets
Kath and Myles Ellis with Fell pony Scotgate Midnight Rebel (Jack) pulling a log

black pony with white bandaged legs doing dressage
Philippa Dawson Coates and Littletree Bessie Bell demonstrating dressage

fell pony in endurance-riding mode
Margaret Plank and Townend Dillon demonstrate endurance riding style

Jack Nicholson demonstrating pony club games
Kerbeck Night Shadow and Jack Nicholson do Pony Club games

pair of brown fell ponies pulling a competition carriage
Jackie Parkinson and her two Tynebank Fell pony geldings (Danny Boy and Brown Bobby AKA "Mouse" and "Bruva") take half an hour out of their Lowther schedule for the day to show off their cross country turnout

pony pulling a hay sledge
Kathryn Savage and Tanisha Barlow accompany Murthwaite Sako.308 with the traditional local hay sledge

Lowther video compilation on YouTube

And then—Lowther asked us to come back in 2016!

With this in mind, the Promotions Team (now the Display Team) was formed. Susan Brunskill gathered a team of people who were prepared to take part in displays, and to create costumes for themselves and their ponies. We decided our sales presentation needed to be revamped—although lot of people had visited the FPS tent at Lowther and we had given out lots of leaflets and sold some £400 pounds’ worth of goods, the space inside the tent was interrupted by its supporting poles and visitors found it rather dark and unwelcoming. We got a very good deal on a lighter and roomier tent that was easy to put up. The Society agreed a start-up fund, and we made plans to sell Fell-themed goods that might be of interest to the general public and to children, as well as to the Fell pony enthusiasts who regularly buy from the Society at shows.

We have applied to take this Merchandise and Information Tent to several Cumbrian agricultural shows and we are just waiting for the various committees to confirm.

The Team enters the ring at Coniston Country Fair - Christine Robinson and Kerbeck Night Whisper as a dressage pony carrying the flags of Cumberland and Westmorland, and Georgia Ellis and Harthouse Hillman as a Roman soldier.


Sue Millard
(supplied Script and Commentary for the Team)