The Breed For All The Family

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Historical records make mention of Welsh Ponies and Cobs being imported to Australia since the early 1800s. While much information has been lost the influence of the Welsh breeds can be seen in depictions of horses and ponies in early Australian life. They have influenced the type of animal bred in this country since then, out on stations, and as all purpose family horses used for transport and for pleasure.

The Welsh Pony and Cob Society of Australia Inc. was founded in Melbourne in 1969. Currently the Society has a membership exceeding 3000 throughout Australia. The purpose of the Society is to maintain an accurate studbook and promote Welsh Ponies and Cobs.

The National office is situated in Pakenham Victoria. Regional Promotional Groups under the umbrella of the Society are situated in all states of Australia providing enthusiasts with social and educational events as well as shows.

Each State has a State All Welsh Show annually, as well as many other events ranging from breed shows, performance shows including Working and Show Hunter, Dressage, and various ridden events.

Welsh Ponies and Cobs are very successful in many disciplines including harness as well as epitomizing the child’s ridden pony, from leading rein to the more experienced rider.

With the four sections within the breed, they range from around 11 hands up to 15.2 hands. There are also many very successful registered Part Welsh animals competing successfully and promoting the versatility of the Welsh breeds.

They truly are the ‘Breed for all the Family’.


It is thought that much of the improvement and final type of Welsh Ponies and Cobs in Wales, UK, occurred in the period 1100 to 1500. This is attributed to the influence of Arab stallions brought back to Wales by the Crusaders, with the native type finally being fixed on that of the Arab, with more bone and height to serve the purpose of war and peace in that period. In 1188 it was noted that there were excellent studs deriving their origin from fine Spanish horses brought into the area.

In 1535, King Henry V111 passed legislation imposing penalties on anyone who used a stallion under 14 hands, aiming to eliminate ‘nags of small stature’. This was followed in 1541 by the prohibiting of the use of any stallion under 15 hands and all smaller ponies were to be destroyed.

Fortunately for Wales, many smaller ponies escaped into the hills, surviving hardship with the survivors being of the hardiest type. Queen Elizabeth annulled this law.

In the l700s, a descendant of the Darley Arabian was turned out in the Ruabon hills of Wales. ‘Barb Arabs’ were also imported and bred to Welsh Pony mares.

In the latter years of the nineteenth century, Welsh breeders used Hackney stallions on their native Cob mares to produce carriage horses.

With the formation of the Welsh Pony and Cob Society of Wales in 1901, sections were allocated for the types and heights of the Welsh Mountain ponies, ponies of Cob type and Cobs. In the late 1920s with the need for ponies suitable for children to ride, two stallions of 50% Oriental and 50% Welsh parentage were accepted into the studbook with the intention of breeding childrens’ riding ponies. These ponies became the Section B. The present day Sections A, B, C and D came into force in 1949, resulting in greater consistency of type within each particular section.

Welsh Ponies and Cobs are recognized the world over as one of the most beautiful and versatile of breeds. They are renowned for their temperament and character.

Breeders strive to maintain the various sections of the breeds true to the standard of excellence while maintaining quality and temperament. The Welsh breeds are native ponies and are presented as such and it is vital to preserve this. Their extravagant movement is a very strong characteristic which breeders must strive to retain.

When exhibited at Society approved events, all Welsh Ponies and Cobs must be shown in a ‘natural’ state. This does not mean that discreet ‘tidying up’ of the animal is not permitted, but manes and tails must be free flowing and feather retained to display their native quality. Of course, a clean healthy coat and a well conditioned animal are very important as with any other breed of horse being exhibited. Part Welsh animals may be presented as the owner decides most suitable.

View the separate tabs on the left for the standard of excellence for each of the Sections.

Alcheringa Tradition- Photographer Stephen Mowbray