If you are looking for a small, sturdy horse that is perfect for children or first-time riders, you may want to consider the Welsh Pony.
This hardy pony is known for its agility and sure-footedness, making it a great choice for novice riders and those who like to explore off the beaten path.
Read on to learn more about this charming breed!
Welsh Pony and Cob Breed Info
Here are some of the key things you need to know about the Welsh Pony and Cob:
|11.0 – 16.0 hands high
|Most commonly black, gray, chestnut and bay, but buckskin and palomino are also seen
|Country of Origin
|Wales (United Kingdom)
|Showing, jumping, driving in FEI level competition, pleasure riding, trekking, trail riding; smaller types are popular children’s mounts
Welsh Pony and Cob Facts & Information (Breed Profile)
Technically speaking, the Welsh Pony and Cob refers to four different breeds of horses that are all closely related to one another and originated in Wales.
History of the Breed
There is evidence that a Welsh-type pony existed before 1600 BC, and these ponies were undoubtedly well-established by the time the Romans arrived in Britain some 2,000 years ago.
This ancient Celtic pony is said to be the ancestor of today’s Welsh Mountain Pony.
Over the generations, only the hardiest ponies survived the sometimes severe circumstances of their home land, flourishing on the limited food and difficult terrain.
The elegant head and, to an extent, the lively movement of the Welsh Pony may be attributed to infusions of Arabian blood, which occurred during the Roman conquest of Britain (43 – 410).
However, since the breed remained secluded in the isolated hills and dells of Wales, there were little outside impacts on it.
As a consequence, it evolved into a very pure breed that could consistently pass on its distinctive hardiness, intelligence, and stamina to the next generation.
The Welsh Cob has been around since the Middle Ages.
It is much bigger than the Welsh Mountain Pony, but it has many of the same characteristics.
It was created as a battle horse when knights returning from Spain and the Middle East brought bigger stallions back with them to be cross-bred with the acclaimed Welsh horses of the time.
The resultant horses had the size and strength to carry an armored knight into combat while keeping the toughness and stamina of the pony.
These horses eventually became known as “Powys horses”, and they were used by knights and armies not only in Britain but also in other parts of the world.
However, in the 16th century king Henry VIII decided that horses that couldn’t be used for war were useless and should be culled to make space for improved national stock.
Under the Breed of Horses Act he ordered that all stallions under 15 hands and mares under 13 hands be culled.
Fortunately, many British horses at this time in history roamed freely on the common lands most of the year.
And so, the Welsh simply let their ponies roam freely in the hills, keeping only the bigger cob-type animals close to their homes.
Henry VIII’s plan ended up being somewhat of a disaster because the quality of the pastures gradually deteriorated as a result of the much increased feeding needs of the bigger horses.
As a result, Elizabeth I, his successor, quickly partly overturned the Act, saving Britain’s pony breeds from extinction.
Welsh Pony and Cob horses have always needed to be adaptable since their owners needed them to do a wide variety of activities, whether in times of peace or war.
Over the centuries, they have been used for everything from farm work to passenger and cargo transportation, coal mining, hunting, long-distance travel, and even racing.
Going back to the Middle Ages again, the Welsh Cob had to be able to keep up with the bigger war horses, whose natural gait was the trot.
Because of it, the Cob developed a famous, ground-covering trot that became the breed’s defining characteristic!
Prior to the adoption of formal breeding regulations, Welsh Cob stallions were trotted uphill for 35 miles and declared fit for breeding if they finished in under three hours.
Because the Welsh Cob was the quickest form of transportation in Wales before the invention of cars, this test was considered to be rather important.
Both the Welsh Pony and the Cob were shipped to British colonies in the 19th and 20th centuries, where they served as the foundation stock for the development of numerous other breeds, including the Morgan, the Welara, the Australian Pony, the Pony of the Americas, the Waler of Australia etc.
The Welsh Pony and Cob Society was formed in 1901 and the first stud book was issued the following year. It was decided to classify the animals in the stud book based on type and height, which are now as follows:
- Welsh Mountain Pony (Section A)
- Welsh Pony (Section B)
- Welsh Pony of Cob Type (Section C)
- Welsh Cob (Section D)
Welsh Ponies and Cobs are seen today in great numbers, and there is almost nothing that a Welsh Pony or Cob can’t do.
If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, keep reading!
All types of Welsh ponies and cobs are noted for their friendly temperaments, toughness, and free-moving gaits.
Feathering on the lower legs is common, but varying depending on the type.
The Welsh Mountain Pony is the smallest and most likely the oldest breed of Welsh horse.
Its calm nature and maximum height of 12 hands makes it an ideal pony for children.
The head is small with a wide forehead, featuring an often dished profile.
The neck is of good length, and the shoulders are sloped. The back is muscular, and the girth is deep.
The hindquarters are long, and the legs are very strong with good bone and dense hooves.
The movement of the pony is brisk, unrestricted, and consistent with good flexion.
The Welsh Pony and Welsh Mountain Pony are very similar, but since the Welsh Pony has a bit more Arabian blood in its pedigree, it is taller, and greater emphasis is put on its “riding” characteristics.
The movement of the Welsh Pony demonstrates remarkable quality, and it has incredible presence as well as impressive jumping abilities.
Its maximum height is 13.2 hands.
The Welsh Pony of Cob Type is a breed of pony that stands no more than 13.2 hands tall and combines the power of the Cob with the compact stature of the Pony.
Instead of the comparatively light build of the Pony, they have the heavier, more compact build of the Cob.
This pony is the perfect all-arounder and is suitable for riding by both youngsters and adults. It excels in everything from dressage to driving to gymkhana activities.
They are lively, surefooted and excellent jumpers.
There is no top height restriction for the Welsh Cob, as long as it is at least 13.2 hands tall.
The Cob is well-known for its calm demeanor, bravery, tremendous endurance, strength, and agility.
The fact that it still has the “pony” character despite its height makes it an excellent choice for riders of any age or ability level.
The head is somewhat pony-like, and the neck is relatively long. The shoulders are strong, and laid-back. Legs are quite short with straight joints and good bone, and the hooves are well-shaped.
The movement of the Cob is unrestricted, straight, and strong with just about the right amount of flare.
They are very versatile.
Most commonly black, gray, chestnut and bay, but buckskin and palomino are also seen
11.0 – 16.0 hands high
Showing, jumping, driving in FEI level competition, pleasure riding, trekking, trail riding; smaller types are popular children’s ponies
Hardy with free-moving gaits
Country of Origin
Wales (United Kingdom)
Local ponies, Arabian, Thoroughbred, Hackney