The Welsh Cob (Section D) is among the tallest of the Welsh Pony and Cob horse breeds. The smallest is the Welsh Mountain pony.
The Welsh Cob has been mentioned in the Welsh literature during the medieval period. There is evidence of the existence of a domestic pony in Wales prior to 1600 BC.
This prehistoric Celtic pony is believed to be the ancestor of the indigenous Welsh Mountain Pony. The ancestors of Welsh ponies were inhabitants of the British Islands before the Roman rulers arrived.
During the Medieval period, the Welsh Cobs were admired for their load-carrying capacity, jumping ability and speed. After coal mining emerged as an important part of the British economy, these Welsh ponies and cobs were made to work in mines. Welsh ponies worked both above the ground and underground in mines.
In the 15th century, the Welsh military used the Welsh Cobs in different battles. In the year 1535, the king passed an order to eradicate all stallions below 14 hands in height and all mares below 13 hands in height. Their breeding was prohibited.
This led to a rebellion by the people of Wales. They concealed their ponies or let them into the hills to save their lives. The result was that only the toughest of ponies survived. When Queen Elizabeth repealed the law the leftover horses and ponies were more toughened. This incident is believed to have contributed to the tough characteristic of this breed.
Stallions who entered the Welsh hills infused Arab blood to this breed in the 18th and 19th century. The Welsh cob had the reputation of being the fastest method of carriage in Wales before the invention of the car.
Before 1918 there were trotting tests to select formal breeding stock. During such tests, the ponies were trotted 35 uphill miles from Cardiff to Dowlais. The fittest ponies completed this trip within three hours without breaking their gait.
The Welsh Pony and Cob Society was formed in 1901 in the UK. This marked the beginning of the formal registration of the Welsh Breed. In the year 1902, The first studbook was printed. In the year 1918 formal breeding stock licensing was introduced.
A decision was taken to separate the Welsh Stud Book into sections based on the class and stature of the ponies.
There was only Section A for Welsh ponies. In the year 1931, there was an increasing demand for ponies for youngsters. This led to the creation of section B. In the earlier studbooks, Section B was meant for the Welsh Pony of Cob type. Section C and Section D was for the Welsh Cob.
In 1907 the higher height limit for Section D cobs was abolished. In the year 1931 Sections Cand D were merged into a single Section C. The present categories of Section C and D came into existence in the year 1949.
In 1907 the Welsh Pony Society was established in the USA. The Welsh Cob was included in the society in the 1960s.
The government paid premiums to the best stallions until the mid 20th century. The Welsh Cob numbers dwindled during the two world wars. Thousands of Welsh Cobs were deployed in the war, but they never came back to Wales.
After World War II ended, there were only ten stallions and twenty-five mares remaining in the studbook. To increase the population of Welsh Cobs plenty of mares that were regarded to be of true Welsh Cob Type were included in the breeding pool. These were labelled as foundation stock. The use of foundation stock ended around 1950. Breeding is very strict.
The Welsh Cobs are sturdy horses. They are lively, active, loyal and enjoy the company of humans. They possess a dynamic personality, and they are curious by nature. This breed is extremely hardy in nature.
They can withstand harsh climatic conditions. They are multi-talented and easy to train. This breed adapts well to different people and circumstances.
The Welsh Cobs are used to sparse diets. Overfeeding the ponies can cause problems. It is best to let them graze on a sparse grass pasture. They feed on grass, hay and grains.
Breeding And Uses
In the past they were used in Wales for a number of activities like ploughing a field, transporting people and working in mines. They were also used as war horses and for postal routes.
These horses are extremely suited for driving carriages. They have been used to pull dairy and bakery carts, farm wagons and military equipment.
Its gentle and obedient nature makes it perfect for disabled riders.
The Welsh Cob is the biggest size in the Welsh Pony and Cob breed registries.
They are taller than 13.2 hands. There is no upper limit on their height. They can weigh around 400 to 700 pounds.
What Breeds Make Up The Welsh Cobs?
The Welsh ponies are believed to have been developed by crossing native ponies in Wales with thoroughbred, Arabian and hackney bloodlines. The Welsh Cobs can be successfully crossed with other breeds.
Trotting Comet, Cymro Llwyd, Llanarth Braint and Briton are the four sires which have had a strong influence on the Welsh Cob breed.
The Welsh Cob has influences on the British Riding Pony and Pony of the Americas. The Welsh Cob has helped in developing several other lineages. The Morgan horse has descended partly from the Welsh Cobs.
Welsh Cobs when crossed with Arab horses breed riding horses. When this breed is crossed with Thoroughbreds they produce jumpers and hunters. Welsh mares can also produce sprightly and light-footed polo ponies.
Welsh ponies come in common equine colors like chestnut, bay, black and gray. You will also find them in palomino, brown, cream and dun shades. They can also be found in the roan version of these solid colors.
Welsh Cobs do not have leopard-spotted, piebald or skewbald coat patterns.
What Do They Look Like?
They have a small head with huge eyes set widely apart. The ears are well set and look neat. They have a long neck. Stallions have a cresty neck with well-defined withers. Mares have a lean neck. The shoulders are strong and well laid back.
They have a short, strong, muscular back. The hindquarters are lengthy and strong. They have long and strong forearms and well-developed knees supported by abundant bones.
The hooves are dense and the feet are well-shaped. The hind legs are strong and muscular. They have a high set tail. Many Welsh Cobs have a long silky mane.
What Are They Used For?
The Welsh Cobs are used for the following activities:
- Endurance riding
- General riding
- Breed show competitions
- Competing in combined driving events
- Exhibitors in harness classes at horse shows
Where Do They Live?
Welsh cobs are natives of Great Britain. They have been present in Wales for thousands of years. Welsh ponies first arrived in the United States in the 1880s. Between 1884 and 1910 large number of ponies were exported to the United States. All the Welsh Cobs found in the United States are descendants of ponies registered in the UK studbook.
The Welsh Cobs are now found in Norway, Canada, America, Germany, Sweden and Australia. They are also found in parts of Africa, Russia, Europe and New Zealand. A small population of these animals can be found in the Carneddau mountains in Snowdonia, Wales.
How Long Do They Live?
They have a lifespan of around 35 years. They are usually healthy and disease-free. But like other ponies, they are prone to laminitis. This condition is caused due to overeating grass or grain. Prompt treatment can help the animal to recover.
How Fast Are They
The Welsh Cob is excellent in jumping and has high speed. Their trot is fast.
How Much Do They Cost?
The average price of a Welsh pony is $5,000. A healthy pony with success in the show ring can command a price of up to $50,000. Their price depends on factors like the horse’s age, training and pedigree.
Before buying a pony breed examine it carefully for labored breathing or any physical signs of illness. Discuss the pony’s health, history, training and temperament in detail with the breeder.
Are They Good For Beginners?
The Welsh Cob is perfect for beginners. They are suitable for all levels of riders. Riders of all age groups can comfortably ride on them. They do not require any special feed. They are healthy and hardy.
Their sociable nature makes them an excellent fit in families with children. They are trustworthy and easy to work with. Their grooming needs are basic, and they are low maintenance horses.
The strong Welsh Cob is an extremely useful breed. These friendly animals are extremely popular with children. They can be used to drive carriages for the entire family.
The Welsh Cob has rightly been described as the best ride and drive animal in the world. The popularity of the Welsh Cob is rising due to its uses in sports and events.