We received a lovely email this week from Russell Buckley describing the horse in one of our favourite images:

Dear Sue,

Thank you for the email with the links and photos, what a collection!

The black and white photo of the grey mare on the cover page of the Pit Pony Experience, has anybody given you the name of the horse? I think it is probably one of the two grey mares from the State Mine/Dacon. I am pretty sure it is “Della”. She was an amazing mare, when we were bringing the machinery out of the State Mine No1 Mine, the machinery was parked in the brick tunnel entrance for a distance of about 100 yards with very little room even for me to get past and I was pretty skinny then, we had to pull all the trailing cables up from behind the machines. After it was decided that we would have to do it by hand Richie Torkington said he could get Della past the machines. He went in front of her facing her, her telling her how good she was, and even though it was tight she could get through, just take your time he said. Well, she put her hooves one behind the other in a straight line, sucked her ribs in and slowly wriggled her way through. Another example of the horses intelligence. Something that you never forget.

The other grey mare was a shorter stockier horse named Bella, she was amazingly strong and could pull gear into places that the other horses couldn’t.