The Welsh pony breed is actually made up of four different types, each with distinctive features and purposes. These types, or sections, have been developed over the breed’s long history, creating hardy ponies who can turn a hoof to any job they’re needed for!
Height: From under 12hh to over 13.2hh, depending on type. Section Ds can be up to 16hh
Colour: Any solid colour. Markings are allowed but piebalds, skewbalds and spotted coats aren’t
Place of origin: Wales
The pony for you if… you want a versatile pony with lots of personality and seriously good looks!
DID YOU KNOW?
Welsh ponies and cobs are known for being good-doers – this is because in the wild, food is scarce and requires them to cross treacherous terrain.
The Welsh breed has a type to suit every rider, so you’re sure to find something you like! Each section shares a few distinctive characteristics – a pretty dished face, long, arched neck, and strong, muscular body.
The Welsh Mountain Pony, or Section A, is the smallest of the types, and must not exceed 12hh. Section As have been referred to as the prettiest breed of pony in the world – and it’s not hard to see why, with their flowing manes and tails, delicate, dished faces, and large, long-lashed eyes! Clever and kind, they make great first ponies and excel in showing, jumping and gymkhana games.
The Welsh Pony, or Section B, is a slightly larger riding pony, ranging from 12hh to 13.2hh. The Section B is similar in type to the Section A, but with a longer neck and legs, and a more animated trot. They make versatile all-rounders and can excel in all disciplines. With their sweet, spirited nature, they’re a popular choice.
The Welsh Pony of Cob Type, or Section C, can range from 12hh to 13.2hh but is heavier-set than the Section B, so they can carry a larger rider. Section Cs are talented jumpers and are very sure footed, so they make fab hacking partners.
The Welsh Cob, or Section D, must be over 13.2hh, and is a refined, athletic cob type. Famous for their stamina and expressive gaits, Section Ds are a firm favourite for children and adults, and can be spotted dominating international driving competitions!
DID YOU KNOW?
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 pony breed history
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 deep underground in seriously small tunnels.
It’s 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’d captured in battle. In the 1700s, Hackney and Norfolk Roadster blood was added to create the distinctive movement that the ponies still have today.
Modern Welsh ponies and cobs are more likely to be found in the show ring than in the coal mines – the breed does brilliantly in show pony, riding pony, cob, and mountain and moorland classes from local level through to the big leagues at the Horse of the Year Show. They’re also a great choice for Pony Clubbers, as they can turn a hoof to any discipline and with such big personalities they can teach their riders loads!
DID YOU KNOW?
A small, semi-feral herd of just under 200 ponies still roams the Carneddau mountains in Wales.