Welsh Ponies come in all sizes, making them extremely versatile. They are suitable for children, but some can carry small adults, as well. They can participate in everything from jumping to dressage to endurance riding, and they can even perform well in Western pleasure. They also make good driving ponies.
Descended from Celtic ponies who roamed the wild Welsh countryside in prehistoric times, the Welsh breed has been carefully developed over the last 2,000 years. Initially prized by farmers for their hardiness and ability to cross tricky terrain, they became invaluable to the efforts of coal miners, who used them to pull coal carts in and out of the mines. Small, tough ponies were invaluable for this job as it required them to work underground in very small tunnels.
It is thought that Arab blood was first introduced to the breed in the Middle Ages, when knights returned from the Middle East with Arab stallions that they had captured in battle. In the 1700s, Hackney and Norfolk Roadster blood was added to create the distinctive movement that the ponies still have today.
In the early 1900s, Welsh ponies were only accepted into the studbook if they could trot 35 miles uphill from Cardiff to Dowlais without stopping! The test took three hours to complete -so it’s no surprise that nowadays, they’re often used for endurance.
Welsh ponies and cobs in the present day are more likely to be found in the show ring, at Pony Club competitions. They can turn a hoof to any discipline and with suchbig personalities they can teach their riders loads!
Section A ponies are clever and kind. They make great first ponies and excel in showing, jumping and gymkhana games. Section Bs have longer necks and legs than the Section As and have a more animated trot. They make great all rounders and can be seen doing dressage, working hunter and show jumping.
The Section C, a Welsh Pony of Cob Type, can range from 122 cms to 138 cms and is heavier set than the Section B. They are extremely talented show jumpers and are very suitable for hacking and driving as well.
The Welsh Cob, or Section D must be over 138cm and is an athletic cob type with great stamina and expressive gaits, especially their powerful trot. They can also be seen dominating international driving competitions.
Welsh ponies and cobs are not only versatile – they are extremely hardy and are good doers. A marvellous breed!