Fellinlove Farm * Notes from Cheryl Kaletka, edited by Kimberly Dunn *
In July 2010, after we purchased property to build our house and barn, I searched for a pony breed that most closely resembled the Friesian horse, a long time favorite horse breed. And in my research, I learned about the beauty of the Fell pony and thought that breed would be a perfect match for my horse-loving small daughter with Down syndrome. I learned more about the breed from (the owner of Laurelhighland Farm) through phone calls and their website(.) .....then located Fells closest to us (via) The Friesian Connection. As a teenager, I always loved reading about English culture and countryside, especially its horses. We also have 4 Gypsy Vanner horses along with a Friesian and a Polish Arabian.
I purchased (a) Fell pony mare, Drybarrows Penny, who was in foal, for our daughter with Down syndrome and repaired severe heart defects. Pippa, Penny’s filly, is also an important family member to Alyssa, the rest of our family and the Fellinlove Farm staff & friends. However, Penny was/is Alyssa’s best friend. They had an instant special connection from the moment they met. They seek each other out. Alyssa rides her as do our staff and guests. Although due to aging and arthritis, we limit riders to Alyssa and small children at this time. See Facebook, Instagram and TikTok videos. A program for children ages 0-18 years old, mostly 7-15 year-olds, Young Fellinlove Farmers, is very active in the care and enjoyment of the Fells. I took a photo of Penny in summer 2013 and used it to develop the Fellinlove Farm logo. In our farm introduction it states: A small family farm for people of all ages and abilities...home of three Fell ponies (rare breed) and more! We "Fell In Love" with the Fell ponies and our other animal family members!
Many significant stories happen each time a rider mounts these amazing creatures. Some of our riders are not able to walk and/or have other challenging needs so the Fells provide the movement and connection that our riders need. As Penny ages, Pippa and especially Zelia (Grey, Fellconnection Zelia) are involved in more riding time. Grooming and petting are important interaction experiences for everyone also. Zelia is the Unicorn! We also have 2 white mini unicorns but Zelia is featured immediately as guests arrive. Children can feed her “magic carrots”; we have a Unicorn stuffie of her wearing a Fellinlove Farm t-shirt. We sell beautiful handcrafted unicorn headbands. Guests often pose with her wearing headbands to have their photos taken with Zelia which further showcases the breed as guests share their photos on their social media platforms. We are often asked what kind of a horse is Zelia? The Black Fell pony is in our logo but we do have alternate versions of the logo where the white (grey) pony is featured. Fellinlove Farm is known in West Michigan as the Unicorn Farm. We offer private birthday parties where children guests ride the Unicorn and again many photos appear on Social Media after the experience. Fellinlove Farm is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that provides adaptive field trips/tours/experiences for people with unique needs. We rely on donors and fundraising. So the private parties and the second Saturday Unicorns are publicly featured at our Open Farm events (like) Unicorns & Mermaids in June through September and Unicorns & Pumpkins in October. Seasonal or Holiday unicorns often appear at our weekly Saturday Open Farm events (like) Easter Unicorn, St. Patrick’s Day Unicorn, Patriotic Unicorn, Summer Unicorn, Halloween Unicorn, Christmas Unicorn, Winter Unicorn, Red Roses Unicorn.
With our large social media following, Fellinlove Farm captures opportunities to share the beauty and significance of the Fell pony breed to Fellinlove Farm and the world, especially the connection to England and Her Majesty’s Fell ponies (Carltonlima Emma, others). With the passing of Queen Elizabeth and empty rider Emma appearing at the funeral procession, Fellinlove Farm informed fans about the Fell pony breed frequently during these weeks. Guests come to the farm to view them and the Gypsy Vanner horses that share some heritage with the Fells. Please follow us on Facebook, Tiktok, Instagram, Youtube and Twitter to view photos, videos and stories about our beautiful Fell pony family members! In our 10 years of providing adaptive field trip/tour/volunteer experiences/inclusive Young Fellinlove Farmers program and through our social media presence, we have educated hundreds of thousands of people about the beloved Fell pony!
Drybarrows Penny is 25yr. and been in Cheryl's family since 2010. Penny has had 5 foals for Sandhaven. Penny's daughter, Sandhaven Pippa is 11yr. Fellconnection Zelia is 15yr. Zelia has had 3 foals.