Use and characteristics of the Welsh Section D/Welsh Cob
The Welsh Section D has no upper height limit but must be over 13.2 hands (54 inches/132 cm), which distinguishes it from the Welsh Section C pony. In practice, like many other small, strong pony breeds, they have strength and stamina beyond their size. People who buy a Welsh Section D/Welsh Cob gain the benefits of a horse and pony in a single animal. Many are bay in colour, and white markings are permitted, though greys are relatively rare. Those who sell a Welsh Section D/Welsh Cob are proud of the remarkable action of their animals at the trot. Extension from the shoulder creates a trot that is full of power with plenty of reach.
Origin and history of breeding Welsh Section D/Welsh Cobs
The ancestors of all the Welsh breeds were ponies running freely on the hills of Wales. There is at least some evidence to suggest small animals were there in pre-Roman days. By medieval times, the horses of Wales had gained a reputation for quality that meant they were very much desired beyond the country. These were horses that were in the control of local landowners. Wales produced warhorses for knights and trotting rouncies for squires, and it is generally believed that the rouncies were some of the ancestors of the Welsh cobs. The smaller Welsh ponies, many of which were likely the original stock, were put at risk by legislation under Henry VIII, who wanted to destroy all small animals in order to use the land to breed great warhorses. However, he was unsuccessful and Welsh ponies and cobs, both large and small, survived. The stronger, taller animals made excellent all-rounders for working on Welsh farms. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the cob types of pony were given even more strength, endurance and speed by breeding with Barbs, Thoroughbreds and Yorkshire Coach Horses, as well as roadsters and trotters from Norfolk and Yorkshire. Trotting races were a very popular sport among farmers and tradesmen, and the Welsh cobs, with their eye-catching action, great stride and speed, were an important part of the culture. The creation of the Welsh Pony and Cob Society in 1901 led ultimately to well-defined breed standards for the different types of pony and cob. However, the Depression and two world wars brought a decline in the Welsh cob, mainly because these valiant animals were useful to the military but no longer so at home. Fortunately, they survived and are recognised today for their versatility.
Welsh Section D/Welsh Cobs in equestrianism
Welsh Section D/Welsh Cobs are superb all-rounders and, like all natives, easy to keep. They are popular ponies for harness work, especially combined driving. Their strength makes them useful for pack work and trekking, while their looks and action make them stand out in the show ring. In fact, there are few things a handsome Section D can’t do, from show jumping to Western riding!