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Welsh Ponies and Cobs Breed Description

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Breed Organization

Welsh Pony and Cob Society of America, Inc.

Native Country

Other Names

Adult Height
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Adult Weight

General Description

Welsh Mountain Pony (Section A)
(Height: not exceeding 12hh)
The centuries of harsh conditions the Welsh Mountain Pony has endured has ensured the sound constitution, iron hard limbs and great intelligence which, combined with the legendary Welsh temperament, makes the ideal child's pony of today. They can be seen ridden and driven all over the World - equally at home in the cold of Canada and Sweden or the heat of Africa and Australia.

The head of the Mountain Pony should be small, with neat pointed ears, big bold eyes and a wide forehead. The jaw should be clean cut, tapering to a small muzzle; the silhouette may be concave or "dished" but never convex or too straight. The neck should be of a good length and well carried with shoulders sloping back to a clearly defined wither. The limbs must be set square with good flat bone and round dense hooves. The tail set high and gaily carried. Action must be straight both in front and behind, quick and free with hocks well flexed.

Welsh Pony (Section B)
(Height: not exceeding 13.2hh)
The general description of the Welsh Mountain Pony can be applied to the Welsh Pony, with greater emphasis being placed on riding pony qualities while still retaining the true Welsh quality with substance.

For generations these ponies were the hill farmers' main means of transport, herding sheep and wild ponies over rough and mountainous country. They had to be hardy, balanced and fast to survive, which ensured that only the best were bred from. These qualities, combined with a natural jumping ability, and the temperament of their Welsh Mountain Pony forebears make the Welsh Pony second to none in whatever field his young rider may choose. Today the hold their own among top class riding ponies both in performance competition and in the show ring.

Welsh Pony of Cob Type (Section C)
(Height: not exceeding 13.2hh (Wales); 14.2hh (US))
The Welsh Pony of Cob Type is the stronger counterpart of the Welsh Pony, but with Cob blood.

Their true worth as a dual-purpose animal has been fully realized in recent years, and their numbers have increased accordingly. Active, surefooted and hard they are ideal for so many purposes both for adults and children.

Like all the Welsh Breeds they are natural jumpers and they also excel in harness - there are in fact few things that they cannot be used for.

Welsh Pony Cob (Section D)
(Height: exceeding 13.2hh)
The general character of the Welsh Cob is the embodiment of strength, hardiness and agility. The head shows great quality with Pony character. Bold prominent eyes, a broad forehead and neat, well set ears. The body must be deep, on strong limbs with good "hard wearing" joints and an abundance of flat bone. Action must be straight, free and forceful, the knees should be bent and then the whole foreleg extended from the shoulders and as far forward as possible in all paces, with the hocks well flexed, producing powerful leverage.

The Welsh Cob is a good hunter and a most competent performer in all competitive sports, in recent years they have had great success in the International driving world. Their abilities in all spheres are now fully recognized throughout the world.

The Welsh Part-Bred
Although the animals entered in all four sections of the StudBook vary in size and substance, all show evidence of their common ancestor, the Welsh Mountain Pony. The best inherit the strong constitution, good bone, courage, activity and equable temperament that has led to their worldwide renown.

It is therefore not surprising that they are in such demand for crossing with other breeds, and there is a Welsh Part-Bred Register for horses, cobs and ponies whose breeding shows not less than 25% of Registered Welsh blood. The large Welsh Part-bred has proved an enormous value in most equine disciplines - show jumping, eventing, dressage and driving.


Welsh Pony
The original home of the Welsh Mountain Pony was in the hills and valleys of Wales. It was there before the Romans. Its lot was not an easy one. Winters were severe. Vegetation was sparse. Shelter, most often, was an isolated valley or a clump of bare trees. Yet the Welsh Pony managed not only to survive but also to flourish.

Led by proud stallions, bands of mares and their foals roamed in a semi-wild state, climbing mountains, leaping ravines, and running over rough terrain. This sort of existence insured perpetuation of the breed through only the most hardy of stock. Hence, the development of a pony with a remarkable soundness of body, a tremendous endurance, and a high degree of native intelligence.

Even an edict of Henry VIII (1509-1547) that all horses under 15 hands be destroyed did not eliminate the Welsh. Hiding in desolate areas where his persecutors were reluctant or unable to go, it continued to live and reproduce, preserving for mankind a distinctive strain of pony that today has generated enthusiasm among breeders and pony lovers all over the world.

Down through the years, the Welsh pony has served many masters. There is evidence to support the belief that it pulled chariots in vast sport arenas. It has worked in coal mines, on ranches, and on postmen's routes. It has been pampered by royalty and served on the farms of the poor.

That the Welsh pony carries a trace of Arabian blood seems beyond doubt. It is likely that the "Arab-like" appearance has been in place since the Roman occupation. Arabian type horses accompanied the Romans from the African campaigns and were abandoned in the United Kingdom when the Romans withdrew in 410 AD. Also, some discreet infusion of Thoroughbred, Eastern and Hackney blood may have occurred from that date. The Welsh Pony, however, has maintained its own dominant physical characteristics over the years, demonstrating that the Welsh crosses well with many other breeds, and this is, to some breeders, an important aspect of its unusual versatility. The breeders of both fine light horses and smaller ponies have successfully crossed with the Welsh Pony. The Welsh has an unusually high capacity for transmitting his best qualities through carefully selected crosses. Exceptionally good show-type animals are often produced in this way. The breeder of Welsh ponies and cobs derives a wide variety of dividends from his efforts.

The Welsh Pony and Cob Society was founded in Wales in 1901 and their first studbook was published in 1902. The original classification for Welsh ponies was Section A, the Welsh Mountain Pony. With a great need for children's riding ponies Section B, the Welsh Pony, was added in 1931. With Section A ponies as its foundation, the breed standard for Section B is the same as for Section A but more particularly the Section B pony shall be described as a riding pony, with quality, riding action, adequate bone and substance, hardiness and constitution and with pony character.

Welsh Cob
Over the years, evidence has been found indicating that native breeds in Wales have existed prior to 1600 BC. Even Julius Caesar, upon his traveling to Britain in 55 BC, was enthralled by the Britons and their exquisite chariot horses. According to documentation in the 15th century, the Welsh Cob was part of the essential string of mounts for the British knight. A Welsh Cob or "rouncy" was used to lead the mighty fighting horses known as destriers. As the destrier's natural gait was the trot, the Welsh Cobs had to cover great distances matching the warhorse stride-for-stride at the trot. To this day the forceful and ground covering trot of the Welsh Cob is legendary. During the crusades (1100 - 1500), the Arab stallions brought back to Wales by the Crusaders left their definitive stamp on the Welsh Cob. This blend of the Arab and native type is evidenced by the excellent Cobs of today. The Welsh Cob has made outstanding contributions to man both in war and peace. In 1485, Henry Tudor came to the throne of England only with the efforts of the Welsh Militia mounted on their swift and hardy Welsh Cobs.

Up until 30 or 40 years ago, the Welsh Cob was so valuable to the British War Office that premiums were paid to the best stallions. The War Office used the Cobs for the mounted infantry and for pulling heavy guns and equipment through rugged, mountainous terrain not easily surmounted by motorized vehicles.

In peace, the Welsh Cob (prior to motorized vehicles) was the quickest transport for doctors and businessmen. Quite often, the sale of a Cob was dependent on how quickly he could cover a predetermined distance without laboring. This also forged the way for many of the famous old trotting matches, such as were used to test the original Morgan Horse.

Originally in the first British Stud Books (1902), the Welsh registry listed the Welsh Pony of Cob Type as Section B (12:2hh to 13:2hh), and the Welsh Cob as Section C (13:2hh to 14:2hh) and Section D (14:2hh to 15:2hh). In 1907, the upper height limit for the Section D was removed. In 1931, all Sections of Cobs were combined and labeled "C." This encompassed all sizes of Cobs. In 1949, the Cob Sections were changed to the current standards - Section C as 13:2hh and under, the Section D being over 13:2hh without an upper limit.

American breeders imported Welsh Ponies as early as the 1880s. George E. Brown of Aurora, Illinois appears to have been one of the first real Welsh enthusiasts, importing a large number of animals between 1884 and 1910. Principally through his efforts and those of John Alexander, The Welsh Pony and Cob Society of America was formed and certification for the establishment of a breed registry was issued by the U. S. Department of Agriculture in 1907.

It was the concern of early importers and breeders that a "purity of the breed" be maintained, and this subject was regularly discussed with the Welsh and English breeders who had established their own registry a few years earlier. Mr. Brown summarized this in a report to the members of the American Society: "With a correct standard fixed and uniformly adhered to, nothing can block the advancement of Welsh to front rank in their classes."

Interest in the Welsh Pony took a drop during the depression years, but through the combined efforts of breeders, particularly those in the East, participation in shows and fairs continued. Beginning in the mid-1950s, "many new members joined the Society, more ponies were imported, and interest spread enormously."

By the close of 1957, a total of 2,881 Welsh had been registered, and the surging growth of the breed began to require annual publication of the StudBook.

Over the next few decades, the Welsh became the fastest growing breed of pony in America. Registered Welsh spread throughout the 50 states and Canada with over 500 new owners recorded annually.

Today, over 34,000 Welsh ponies have been registered in America. Each of these are descended directly and entirely from animals registered with the Welsh Pony and Cob Society in Wales. Although the numbers of the Welsh Pony of Cob Type and the Welsh Cob are relatively small in the United States compared to their cousins the Welsh Mountain Pony (Section A) and the Welsh Pony (Section B), their numbers are increasing yearly with new foals born and importation from the UK.


They are reputed to be trustworthy, of a good disposition with even temperaments and friendly characters, but spirited and with great endurance.


The modern Welsh Pony and Cob breeds are used for many equestrian competitive disciplines, including showing, jumping, and driving, as well as for pleasure riding, trekking and trail riding. The smaller types are popular children's ponies. The Welsh also crosses well with many other breeds and has influenced the development of many British and American horse and pony breeds.


Welsh Ponies and Cobs are known for their stamina, soundness, and high level of intelligence.

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