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22 March 2019   
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Welsh Breeds of Ponies - A to Z

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Welsh Mountain Pony

The Welsh Mountain pony's origin is uncertain though it is thought to have evolved from the prehistoric Celtic pony. Welsh ponies have thrived on the mountains of Wales and existed in the British Isles for centuries, prior to the arrival of the Roman Empire. The existence of roaming free over the rough terrain with severe winters and sparse vegetation, has turned the breed into a hardy, sure footed and intelligent animal. The breed is tough and sound, with a steady and calm nature.
Horses brought in during the Romans occupation in Ancient Britain, bred with the native Welsh ponies and produced 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 breed characteristics became established by the late fifteenth century, after Crusaders returned to England with Arabian stallions obtained from the Middle East.
Later in the 1500s, King Henry VIII, thinking to improve the breed for war horses, ordered the destruction of all stallions under 15 hands and all mares under 13 hands giving rise to the larger Welsh ponies. Fortunately the ponies in the wild, remote, and inaccessible mountains of Wales escaped this order and these are the foundation ponies of the Welsh Mountain Pony section A.

Today's Welsh Mountain makes a good children's riding pony and it is also suitable as a driving pony. It may be shown in hand or under saddle, including hunter/jumper and dressage competition. It's friendly and calm disposition make it easy to train and a popular choice for a child's pony. The maximum height allowance in the UK is 12. h.h. (12.2 h.h. in America) It has good conformation with a small neat head showing obvious Arab influence; large eyes set wide apart, a dished profile and tapering muzzle. Small alert ears; an elegant neck set on good sloping shoulders; withers not too pronounced; a short, strong back with rounded quarters and a well set and carried tail. The limbs are refined with good strong bones and well shaped, sure footed feet.

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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