Name of breed: Welsh Pony and Cob
Country of origin: Wales
Breed origin: There is evidence that suggests a Welsh-type of pony existed before 1600 BC, and the original Welsh Mountain Pony is thought to have evolved from the prehistoric Celtic pony. Welsh ponies developed into a hardy breed due to the harsh climate, limited shelter and sparse food sources of their native country. At some point in their development, there was some Arabian blood added, although this did not take away the physical characteristics that make the breed unique.
The Welsh Cob existed as early as the Middle Ages and mentions of them can be found in medieval Welsh literature. In 1485 the Welsh Militia, riding local horses presumed to be ancestors of the modern Welsh Cob, assisted Henry Tudor in gaining the English throne. On the farms of Wales, Welsh ponies and cobs would often have to do everything, from ploughing a field to carrying a farmer to market or driving a family to church on Sunday. When coal mining became important in England, many Welsh ponies were harnessed for use in the mines.
The breed’s registry, called the Welsh Pony and Cob Society, was established in 1901 and the first stud book was published in 1902. It was decided that the Welsh Stud Book should be separated into sections divided by type and height, and hence the four sections in Australia today:
- Welsh Mountain Pony
- Welsh Pony
- Welsh Pony of Cob Type
- Welsh Cob
Distinguishing features: Let’s face it, Welsh ponies and cobs have seriously adorable little faces, it’s hard not to fall in love at first sight and add to your collection of horses at home. The breed ranges from 11 hands for the smallest ponies, to over 16 hands for the tallest cobs. While the most common colours are black, brown, grey, chestnut and bay, you can also find them with dun or palomino colouring. They are known to be trustworthy with even temperaments and friendly personalities – it’s no wonder they make a great children’s mount! They often have bold movement and are known for their stamina and intelligence, making them easy to train.
Modern day Welsh Pony: Welsh Ponies and Cobs are popular around the world today, with the ponies excelling as children’s mounts and the cobs proving they are successful in all disciplines. They compete in the show ring, at pony club and in other performance competitions including carriage driving. And a bonus? They LOVE to jump!
Image credit: Horse Journals