It is believed that Welsh Mountain Ponies are descended from the Celtic Pony and have lived in the Welsh mountains for over a thousand years. Generations of enduring hardships created an intelligent, sure-footed, hardy pony with a sound constitution and iron-hard limbs.
Early literature indicates that the Welsh Cob was a well-established breed by the 15th century. The Welsh Pony & Cob Society was founded in 1901 and is Britain’s largest native breed society. Originally used as the main means of transport for shepherds and farmers, around 1930 they became popular as children’s riding ponies.
A feral group of Welsh Ponies still lives in the Carneddau mountain region of Snowdonia, Wales. Aberystwyth University researchers have determined that this band possess a unique genetic makeup, having developed organically without the influence of breeders since the Middle Ages.
Welsh Ponies are divided into four types:
Welsh Mountain Pony (Section A) – not exceeding 12 hands
Welsh Pony (Section B) – not exceeding 13.2 hands
Welsh Pony of Cob Type (Section C) – containing Cob blood, not exceeding 13.3 hands
Welsh Cob (Section D) – taller than 13.2 hands, no upper limit
The latter two types are capable of carrying small adults.
Section A and B pony conformation is quite similar, featuring small heads with a slightly dished profile, neat pointed ears, big bold eyes and a wide forehead. The limbs have good bone, round dense hooves, and a high tailset. Action is straight and free with hocks well flexed. Section C and D ponies are larger and more substantial, with a muscular back and loins, sturdy legs, forcible gaits with knees bent and foreleg well extended from the shoulder, propelled by powerful hocks. All colours, except piebald and skewbald, are allowed.
Crossing the Welsh Pony with other horse breeds such as the Thoroughbred can create an exceptional jumper, hunter, or eventer that may inherit some of the legendary sweet yet mischievous Welsh temperament.
Welsh Ponies make an ideal child’s partner for riding and driving. Their sure-footedness, courage, intelligence and natural jumping ability make them ideal foxhunters and good all-round family members.