Meet the Welsh Pony and Cob

The Versatile Welsh Pony and Cob

Welsh Mountain Pony (Equus ferus caballus) with long mane. Descendent of the ancient Celtic mountain pony which lived wild in the hills of Wales for centuries. UK
Welsh Mountain Pony (Equus ferus caballus) with long mane. Descendent of the ancient Celtic mountain pony which lived wild in the hills of Wales for centuries. UK. John Cancalosi / Getty Images

The Welsh Pony has influenced many different breeds and is a popular choice for the show ring with its flashy style, and elegant looks. Adults often use them in harness and their sizes are perfect for child and youth riders. Welsh Cobs are a steady ride for older children and adults.They are also called Welsh Mountain Ponies.

Body Type:

Welsh Ponies and Cobs give the impression of substance without being coarse.

Their legs are fine and clean boned, and ideally, they are deep chested. Many give the impression of a small but substantial Arabian. Their heads often look like an Arabian's with sharp ears, large expressive eyes, and a dished forehead. They have strong, elegant necks and strong hindquarters. They can be gray, bay, chestnut, black or brown, cream, dun, or palomino or any roan version of these solid colors.

Size:

Welsh Ponies and Cobs are classified into four sizes. The Welsh Mountain Pony or Section A ponies are regarded as the foundation of the breed. These ponies are under 12 hands high. Section B ponies are between 12 and 13.2 HH. Welsh C and D are regarded as cob types. Section Cs are up to 13.2 HH and are generally have more substantial bone structure than a Section B pony while retaining the refined look of the smaller ponies.  The Section D Cob type may be up to 15 HH. Many children learn to ride on a Section A Welsh pony and work their way up.

Welsh Ponies are often a first beginner pony for young children. A sturdy section C can easily carry an adult, although adults are more likely to ride the Section D Cob type.

Uses:

These ponies and cobs were used extensively on farms, military, and commercial use in harness. They make excellent all-purpose mounts and have been used for hunting, racing, and jumpers.

There are shows specifically for Welsh Ponies and Cobs so they can display their many talents. And, they are shown by both adults and children. Because they can be ridden and driven they are a pony that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

These ponies were draft animals, used to pull loads. When horses were the principal mode of transport, they were used in mining and agriculture. They were also used in the military. Trekking, or trail riding as those of us in North America would call it, on Welsh Ponies is popular in the UK. The breed has influenced many other light horse and pony breeds such as the Pony of the Americas.

History and Origins:

Welsh ponies, native to Britain, specifically the Principality of Wales, are likely developed from crossings of native ponies with Arabian, Thoroughbred, and Hackney bloodlines.  A forebearer of the Welsh breed existed in the Middle Ages. They survived, hidden in their mountainous homeland, even after  Henry VIII  issued an edict to destroy all horses under 15 hands high.

Unique Characteristics:

These ponies are sturdy but refined and have a somewhat Arabian appearance. They are hardy and can withstand harsh climates and sparse pasture. They are strong for their size.

Welsh Ponies, like many other pony breeds, are long-lived.

Champions and Celebrities:

One of the most significant stallions was Dyoll Starlight who over his career amassed significant awards and championships. You'll find more about Dyoll Starlight and other stallions on The First Fifty-Five Years Of Section A Welsh Stallions.

In the Carneddau mountain region in Snowdonia, Wales there exists a feral group of Welsh Ponies. Welsh Ponies are known as a native breed of the UK. 

Reference:

The Encyclopedia of the Horse by Elwyn Hartely Edwards, Crescent Books