welsh pony

The original Welsh Mountain Pony is thought to have evolved from the prehistoric Celtic pony. Welsh ponies were primarily developed in Wales and existed in the British Isles prior to the arrival of the Roman Empire. They were adapted to the difficult climate of severe winters and sparse vegetation. Shelter most often was an isolated valley or a clump of bare trees. Bands of ponies roamed in a semi-feral state climbing mountains, leaping ravines, running over rough terrain. Therefore the Welsh pony developed intelligence, speed and soundness, and is known for "heart" and endurance. They are tough and thrifty, with a steady, tractable, and calm nature. When the Romans occupied Ancient Britain, they brought horses of their own, which bred with the native ponies, producing hardy offspring with substance and attractive appearance. It is believed that Julius Caesar founded a stud for the ponies on the shores of Lake Bala. The characteristics of the breed as it is known today are thought to have been established by the late fifteenth century, after Crusaders returned to England with Arabian stallions obtained from the Middle East. In the 1500s, King Henry VIII, thinking to improve the breeds of horses, particularly war horses, ordered the destruction of all stallions under 15 hands and all mares under 13 hands. Fortunately the ponies in the wild, remote, and inaccessible mountains of Wales escaped this order. On the upland farms of Wales, Welsh ponies and cobs would often have to do everything from plowing a field to carrying a farmer to market or driving a family to church on Sunday. When coal mining became important to the economy of England, many Welsh ponies were used in mines, for pulling carts. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, more Arabian blood was added by stallions who were turned out in the Welsh hills. Other breeds have also been added, including the Hackney, Thoroughbred, Norfolk Roadster, and the Yorkshire Coach Horse. In 1901, the Welsh Pony and Cob Society was formed in the United Kingdom, with the first Stud Book published the following year. In 1949, the sections of the Stud Book (A, B, C, and D) were introduced. The United States registry, also named the Welsh Pony and Cob Society, was incorporated in 1906. One important stallion in the Welsh breed since the 1900s was Dyoll Starlight, credited with being the foundation sire of the modern breed, and who was a combination of Welsh and Arab breeding. From his line came an influential stallion of the Section B type: Tan-y-Bwlch Berwyn. This stallion was sired by a Barb and out of a mare from the Dyoll Starlight line.

The Welsh Pony designates a group of four related types of pony and horse native to the United Kingdom: the Welsh mountain pony (Section A), the Welsh pony (Section B), the Welsh pony of cob type (Section C), and the Welsh Cob (Section D). Welsh ponies and cobs are suitable mounts for both children and adults. The modern Welsh Pony is known as a riding and driving pony. It is shown both in hand and under saddle, including hunter/jumper and dressage competition, and is a popular children's pony. They have a reputaton for intelligence, friendly personalities and even temperaments, allowing them to be easily trained. The breed is used for many forms of equestrianism, including pleasure riding, as well as horse show competition. The Welsh also crosses well with many other breeds and has influenced the Pony of the Americas and the British Riding Pony. Many are also crossbred with Thoroughbreds, and other horse breeds. The Welara, a cross between the Welsh pony and the Arabian horse, has its own registry.


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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Welsh Pony".