Origins of the Welsh Pony
Welsh Mountain Ponies have beed bred in the hills of Wales, in the west of Great Britain, for hundreds of years. Their action and temperament have been influenced by the harsh climate and rough terrain of their native hills. They are extremely "good doers" with strong constitutions and this comes from the necessity of being able to keep well on the sparse, course grasses and mosses that made up their diet.
In 1902 the Welsh Pony and Cob Stud Book was established and the four fixed types were separated out. Prior to that time Welsh ponies were influenced by a variety of breeds. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Welsh ponies were crossed with Arabians, Thoroughbreds and Hackneys.
The Welsh Cob (Sections C and D) originates in Wales also, but the largest concentration were, and still are, bred in the central section of Wales, an area known as Dyfed.
Characteristics of the Welsh Pony
The Welsh Pony and Cob Stud Book is divided into four sections.
Section A - Ponies registered in Section A of the Stud Book are commonly known as Welsh Mountain Ponies. They are the smallest of the four types of Welsh Pony and should not exceed 12 h.h. in height, with delicate heads, elegant legs and a good depth of girth. They are excellent children's riding ponies and also go well in harness.
Section B - Ponies registered in Section B of the Stud Book are known as the Welsh Pony of Riding Type and should not exceed 13.2 h.h. in height. They are reknowned for their sloping shoulders, giving them excellent action.
Section C - Ponies registered in Section C of the Stud Book are officially known as the Welsh Pony of Cob Type and should not exceed 13.2 h.h. in height. The body is compact, with a deep girth and the legs are short and muscular.
Section D - Section D of the Stud Book includes cobs over 13.2 h.h. in height. Their head shows the same delicate features as all Welsh ponies and their strong quarters and hind legs provide the striking Cob action. Feathering can be seen at the heels.
Uses of the Welsh Pony and Cob
The Welsh Mountain Pony is an exceptional children's riding pony. It's tractable temperament, along with a smooth comfortable gait make it ideal for even young children to ride. It's elegant good looks make it a natural in the show ring and horse shows in the U.S and in Britain feature tiny children in immaculate riding apparel being led around the ring in "Leading Rein" or "Short Stirrup" classes, depending on which country they are in. Welsh Mountain Ponies are also well-suited to work in harness and are very popular in competitive driving events.
The Welsh Pony of Riding Type is a popular mount of Pony club members because of it's versatility and ability. Being larger that the Welsh Mountain Pony makes them popular for teens and light adults and they perform equally well either under saddle or in harness.
The Welsh Pony of Cob Type is popular as a children's field hunter and can also often be seen in the jumping ring.
The Welsh Cob was originally used as a farm and harness horse, but it's spectaular action has made it popular in the show ring, in harness and nowadays in dressage competition.