The Fell Pony Society


Below are sources of information of particular interest to Fell Pony owners. [All external links open in a new window.]



Weight Management,









The Laminitis Trust,



Sweet Itch,


Foal Immunodeficiency Syndrome Testing

The carrier test is available from 1 February 2010 at a cost of £40 including VAT, on a non-profit basis. Hair samples must be taken by a vet who must complete the form on the sample bag before sending it to the Animal Health Trust. At the present time, kits can be obtained from the FPS office by sending a cheque made payable to the Fell Pony Society. The results of the test will be returned to your vet within 30 days. The AHT would prefer the FPS to deal with the supply of the test kits, but your vet can obtain them directly from the AHT if you prefer. Tests for sick foals can be fast-tracked to establish whether or not the foal has the disease.

The AHT may already have archive samples from some ponies in their files (for example, colts that have been licensed as stallions and been DNA profiled.) It may be possible to use these existing samples for FIS testing if the sample was taken by a vet - please contact the office to enquire about this and they will liaise with the AHT to establish whether or not this is possible. The fee will still be £40.

Should owners so wish, their pony passports may be endorsed by the Office to indicate that the pony has been tested. The result of the test may also be indicated if the owner so wishes.

Ponies that have been FIS tested but whose certificate has been lost can have their certificate re-issued for £5 on application to the FPS office. Note: The office can only confirm that the test has been carried out. The Society is not given the result of tests and it is the owner's choice to share the information or not.

A report of the EGM held on 19 January 2010 appeared in the Spring Magazine 2010.

Further information on FIS

Information on FIS testing is available on the AHT website:

Simple explanation about how FIS is passed on, and how that can be prevented, with a diagram of all possible breeding combinations: 2016: FIS - Different breeding combinations and possible outcomes

FIS information from the Animal Health Trust,

Article by Bob Charlton written before the FIS test was found: Breed and We Will Succeed (2006). It contains another explanation of the "lottery" of recessive genetics, and should be read alongside the information from the links above.

Paper on FIS (2013)

Foal Immunodeficiency Syndrome: carrier testing has markedly reduced disease incidence

Professor Stuart Carter (University of Liverpool Veterinary School) published a paper showing that the number of FIS foals born each year dropped to very low levels after FIS testing started in 2010.

The paper can be found via this link:
Veterinary Record

A summary of the paper is as follows:

The carrier test for the fatal Foal Immunodeficiency Syndrome (FIS) has been available at Newmarket for 3 years and two full breeding seasons. In that time many of you have submitted samples from your ponies and foals and then used the information for safe breeding combinations (clear with clear or clear with carrier) and avoided carrier/carrier combinations.

Stuart has analysed the FIS test data (anonymously) over the last 3 years and shown that:

1. A large number of ponies have been tested

2. The numbers of FIS foals has dropped dramatically in all breeds tested (only 1 foal tested positive in 2012). This is an excellent outcome and very clear evidence of breeders and scientists working together to improve animal welfare and much credit should go to the owners/breeders for enabling the research programme and for then conscientiously using the carrier test to stop FIS foals being born.

Testing of potential breeding ponies will need to be continued as the current breeding strategy (allowing carriers to breed with clears) will not reduce the large numbers of carriers; however, the majority of current breeding ponies have already been tested and it will just be necessary to test new animals selected for breeding in the future.

It has been a long journey to get to this point, but is justification for the considerable efforts of many individuals over many years and the eventual outcome.

Professor Stuart Carter

22 April 2013


New HBLB App helps keep horses safe from infection

EquiBioSafe is a portable, user-friendly and interactive synopsis of both the HBLB Disease Control Codes of Practice for Breeders and the National Trainers Federation (NTF) Codes of Practice for racehorse trainers. Please see details here: EquiBioSafe document 26 July 2016


The Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) 2012 Codes of Practice on equine diseases,


Scottish Government's Biosecurity for Horses leaflet: basic biosecurity measures that can be applied by anyone, as well as information on Equine Infectious Anaemia, African Horse Sickness and West Nile Virus.



National Foaling Bank,



Foals born with respiratory distress - step by step instructions for CPR to avoid the death of the foal or hypoxic brain injury (dummy foal syndrome). There is an app for iPhone:



Equine Grass Sickness,



Seasonal Pasture Myopathy

Seasonal Pasture Myopathy (SPM) (previously known as Atypical Myopathy) is caused by sycamore poisoning (due to Hypoglycin A). Further information is available from the Royal Veterinary College,

Update, 11 April 2017

Advice for UK and European horse owners to prevent SPM:

Source: Liphook Equine Hospital, 2013.


Equine Infectious Anaemia

The Chief Veterinary Officer (UK) confirmed a case of Equine Infectious Anaemia in a horse stabled in Cornwall (3 October 2012).

Further information is available here