Existing as a type rather than an independent breed from as early as 1600 BC, the Welsh Pony or Welsh Cob is believed to descend from the similarly conformed Celtic Pony of prehistoric times.
A number of other equines have contributed to the bloodline of the Welsh Cob, including the Thoroughbred, Hackney Horse, Yorkshire Coach Horse and the Norfolk Roadster. The breed was developed in Wales and has existed there for centuries, utilised in a number of ways from ploughing to transportation and timbering. Due to the wide variation that emerged, the Welsh Cob breed is now divided into four types or sections.
Section A, otherwise known as the Welsh Mountain Pony, is a compact horse boasting a height between 12-12.2 hands. Thought of as the ‘founding horse,’ the Section A Welsh Cob is refined and exceptionally strong, primarily used for driving and leisure riding.
Section B is a slightly larger horse (a height of up to 13.2 hands is permissible) with a lighter build. Possessing the traits of its Thoroughbred and Hackney Horse influence, the Section B is commonly seen in leisure riding as children’s ponies and in competition capacities.
Section C is a heavier horse whose conformation is heavily influenced by the Hackney, Norfolk Trotter and the Yorkshire Coach Horse. Hardy and cob-like, with feathered legs and capabilities in competition driving and jumping, the Section C is a popular mount with heavier boning much like the Section D.
Section D is the largest horse within the registry for Welsh Cob, boasting an average height of over 13.2 hands. Traditionally used for transportation as a postal horse and in the coal pits, the Section D is a strong animal with well conformed legs and a deep chest. Successful in driving, harness and hunting capacities, the Section D can easily be ridden by both children and adults.
The Carneddau Mountains in Wales’ Snowdonia are home to roughly 180 semi-feral Welsh Cob horses.