Like the ponies of the New Forest, Exmoor and Dartmoor, fell ponies are mustered once a year and counted.
Mrs Raines, who keeps six fell ponies, has had one die from the syndrome.
She estimates that there are around 5,000 fell ponies,which constitutes a small gene pool, and says that other scientists are looking into possible causes besides the genetic theory.
Local breeds will have a high profile, from Herdwick and Rough Fell sheep to Fell ponies
In the early 1990s the group moved to Linnel Wood, the home of Bob & Sarah Charlton and the famous Linnel Fell ponies
, where it remained for 10 years.
Ms Dalton, who studied zoology at Edinburgh University and undertook a masters degree in biology before becoming a project officer with Cumbria Wildlife Trust, currently grazes her own Wiltshire horn sheep, Shetland cattle and Fell ponies
on a 28-acre piece of hill ground near Kendal.
The caption read, 'Jimmy who has sired more than twenty champion fell ponies
and is a great grandfather several times over has been living in honourable retirement for the past four years'.
A ONE-day event is to be held in Northumberland for fell ponies
Organised visits to see Fell ponies in their natural environment;
Visits by school parties to working farms where Fell ponies are in use;
Over the centuries Fell ponies have been used for a variety of purposes including building Roman walls, smuggling along the northern coast and more generally as pack animals.