Welsh Pony & Welsh Cob

Educational Information



The Welsh Pony and Cob Society
Cymdeithas y Merlod a'r Cobiau Cymreig

White Markings

At the meeting of Members Services on Tuesday 13th November, the subject of white markings was discussed. A solution was framed to go before Council on Monday December 10th where it was passed unanimously. As the subject is of significant interest to members we feel it appropriate to post the general outline of the solution accepted by the Council in advance of the minutes.

The Council of the WP&CS has agreed to amend the regulations for entry to the Stud Book to read:

Colour: Any colour, except piebald and skewbald including tobiano and overo patterns.

Excessive white should be discouraged. In the showring Judges will be empowered to judge according to personal preference. This will be highlighted in the Judging and Showing Handbook that will be published in January.

Penalties for not supplying the correct colour and markings would be immediate withdrawal of the members’ right to complete colour and markings on registrations. Further penalties could extend to disciplinary proceedings or trading standards.

Following this clarification of regulations, animals registered within Section X of the Stud Book can be reviewed by the Members Services Committee. Individuals wishing to appeal should do so in writing to the Society at 6 Chalybeate Street, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 1HP.

At the insistence of their membership The Welsh Pony and Cob Society of Great Britain hired a Consultant to review the organization and make recommendations to improve their methods of operation, and the perception of the organization by members and the public. It is obvious, by what is pinning at the Royal Show,  that it has not done an ounce of good.

However, it is clear that there are some responsible breeders that realize the worth and importance of preserving the original hill ponies and their genetics.

 Based on and reprinted from Welsh Ponies & Cobs magazine of WPCS


Bronaeron, Felinfach, Lampeter, Ceredigion, SA48 8AG 

Tel: (01570) 471754 Fax: (01570) 470435

Website:  www.wpcs.uk.com

Registered Charity No: 222014 - Company Limited by Guarantee No.: 1017832

Welsh Mountain Pony Section A - Breed Standard

Height - The height should not exceed 12 hh (121.9 cms)

Colour & Markings - Any colour except piebald and skewbald

Head - Small, clean -cut, well set on and tapering to muzzle. Eyes bold. Ears well placed, small and pointed. Set well up on the head, proportionately close. Nostrils wide and open

Jaws and Throat - Clean and finely-cut, with ample room at the angle of jaw

Neck - Lengthy, well carried and moderately lean in the case of mares, but inclined to be cresty in the case of mature stallions

Shoulders - Long and sloping well back. Withers moderately fine, but not "knifey". The humerus upright so that the foreleg is not set in under the body

Forelegs - Set square and true and not tied in at the elbows. Long strong forearm, well developed knee. Short flat bone delow the knee, pasterns of proportionate slope and length. Feet well shaped and round. Hooves dense

Body - Muscular, strong and well coupled back and loins. Deep girth with well sprung ribs
Hindquarters - Lengthy and fine. Not cobby, ragged or goose-rumped. Tail well set on and carried gaily

Hind Legs - Hocks to be large, flat and clean with points prominent, to turn neither inwards nor outwards. The hind leg not be too bent. The hock not to be set behind a line from the point of the quarter to the fetlock joint. Pasterns of propostionate slope and length. Feet well shaped and hooves dense

Action - Quick, free and straight from the shoulder, well away in front. Hocks and knees well flexed with straight and powerful leverage and well under the body

General - Character Hardy, spirited and pony like



In February 2006 Gwyneira Edwards, Head of Administration, WPCS (Great Britain) answered an inquiry about registration of excessive white marked Welsh this way:


"Section X is a section whereby an animal cannot be registered in the full body of the stud book, they can be coloured animals out of pure bred animals, pure bred animals with white patches, progeny out of welsh stallions that haven't been licensed prior to being castrated etc."

The WPCS Registration rules read:


The Society shall have the right to decline to accept an application for registration or entry when, in its opinion:

10.1 The application form has not been completed in sufficient detail.

10.2 The name of the animal is unsuitable or objectionable.

10.3 The animal is piebald or skewbald in colour.

Brought upon in part by several lawsuits against the WPCS by dissatisfied members, "The Council of the Welsh Pony and Cob Society (Great Britain) has committed in principal to proposals that will bring fundamental change and reform to the Society over the next 2 years." 2006

Consultant’s Report & Recommendations

The independent review of governance and management structures was commissioned by the Society on the advice of the Charity Commission. Following a tendering process the contract was awarded to Pamela Woods of Management Matters, an independent consultant specializing in charity governance. Ms. Woods was tasked with conducting a review which was uncompromising and thorough. She presented her report to the Council on Thursday 6th July 2006 and has made far-reaching recommendations in an overall programme spanning 2 years.

In principal, the broad thrust of the report’s recommendations have been accepted by the Council. This broad acceptance of the intent and direction of the recommendations will bring fundamental changes to the Society. There are still areas that will need development and refinement in order to modernize the Society’s governance and management structures, as well as practical and functional issues within the report that need to be considered in greater detail. A Council Working Group has been set up to oversee the development and implementation of the changes.

Chairman of the Council, Mr. Len Bigley, said “This is an opportunity that we must seize. We asked for an uncompromising review and we are satisfied that we have received one. It highlights some issues that may be difficult for us to accept, nevertheless, our priority is the health and longevity of the Society. As an organization we have reached a critical point and we are now in a position to take action in a measured and planned way, with clear goals and objectives. In broadly accepting the recommendations of the review the Council is sending a clear message that it has recognized and accepted the need to modernize. This will not be an easy task but, like my fellow Council members, I am personally committed to driving forward the changes necessary to revitalize and renew the Society.”

To access the complete report click here


However, it is time for you to stop breeding Welsh for the British Riding Pony type or register them as British Riding Pones not Welsh ponies.

Here is the Welsh Breed Standard with descriptions. The original of this Breed Standard was drawn by your own Elgin Davies, I believe for the WPCS, to instruct us all to recognize true Welsh characteristics.
Try to stick to it and stop sending your junk over here! Denise
email: denisemarieloeffel@yahoo.com

At one time, the hills of Wales and the borders were alive with hill ponies; herds of wild, hardy animals left virtually to fend for themselves, ensuring that only the hardiest survived. Mother Nature’s doctrine of “survival of the fittest” led to the evolution of the Welsh Mountain Pony into an agile, hardy, fit, strong, intelligent and beautiful animal.

The enormous contribution that the hill breeders have made to retain the traditional characteristics of the Welsh Mountain Pony is now being recognised it is a must that we retain these irreplaceable animals. Indeed, it is essential to try and maintain the tradition of keeping these ponies on their natural heath to ensure that these invaluable characteristics are not lost over the years.  At some Hill Sales you will see breeders seeking out these bloodlines.

It is believed that the Hill Pony Improvement Societies became established as a result of the Commons Act 1908.  However, some Hill Societies pre-dated The Bill and may have acted as an instigator to The Bill itself. The early Welsh Stud Book reported that The Right Hon. Earl Carrington, G.C.M.G., President of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, received a deputation on the subject of protection and improvement of the breed.  Lord Kenyon led the deputation and the meeting eventually resulted in the Act of Parliament, intended to assist with the improvement of Hill Ponies and their breeding. The Act itself still stands today, enabling control of the ponies, especially entires, roaming common land to ensure breeding standards are maintained.

However, in the late 20th century, the decline in numbers of the Hill Ponies became apparent to many of the Hill Breeders and The Welsh Pony and Cob Society Council Members. The Welsh Pony and Cob Society subsequently asked Betty French to carry out a survey on The Welsh Mountain Pony. Betty was assisted by her husband Brian and carried out the enormous task. 

A precise of the survey:

by Elizabeth French

[From the "Hill Ponies of Wales Newsletter" Issue 1, April 2005]

You may ask “Why this survey”?  Well, the hill ponies are our heritage, our ponies and cobs are admired all over the world, they have descended from the forebears of a gene pool of these hardy ponies on the hills, their survival is imperative for us to have a gene pool of these ponies. The purpose of this survey was to present the figures to The Rare Breeds Trust and for the application for Rare Breed Status and as a result the hill ponies are now on "The Rare Breeds List"

Many members thought the hill ponies were safe and that there were at least still 2000 breeding mares on the hills.  The survey showed that this was not so and that registered breeding mares of four years old and over were down to the very low number of less than 800 - this puts them into the category of “At Risk”.  Although the numbers have a built in ten per cent allowance for ponies not as yet visited, it was noted that of all the thirty areas visited only one hill breeder has increased his herd due to the renewed interest of the family.

To the year 2000 there had been a decline of the hill ponies by 25% over the previous eight years. Foot & Mouth was devastating and because of the hardships the decline of hill ponies has continued.

The general interest of all members was very positive and to further this interest Betty has over nine hundred photos and two hundred slides and is prepared to give talks and presentations to emphasis the importance of retaining the feral Welsh Mountain Pony in its natural environment.  The three years of gathering the information was a never to be forgotten project. Betty had the help and friendship of Hill Breeders, without whom it would not have been possible to make this survey a success.  She says "The whole experience was reward in itself, therefore this survey did not incur any cost to the Society, and through this survey, the hill ponies have received recognition from The Rare Breeds Trust."

Details of The Welsh  Pony and Cob Society Welsh Mountain Premium Scheme

1.      The administration of the scheme will be based on the ability of the Pony Improvement Societies to apply the conditions and requirements of the Commons Lands Act. The Societies will be entirely responsible for the control of their area and will annually certify to the Welsh Pony and Cob Society that the conditions of the Commons and Enclosures Acts and Regulations have been and are effectively carried out particularly in connection with the clearance of scrub stallions. On the Inspection day a few Improvement Societies may be selected at random and the Hill or Common under their jurisdiction inspected by members of an elected Committee.

2.      The Societies will be responsible for the selection and acquisition of the Welsh Mountain pony stallions either by hire, lease, loan or purchase as their Committee may decide.

3.      The Societies will be entirely responsible for the payment of hiring fee/purchase price as the case may be.

4.      The terms of hiring, leasing or lending will be settled between the Improvement Society and the stallion owner; the Welsh pony and Cob Society will not be responsible either directly or indirectly nor in an advisory capacity.

5.      The Societies will submit annually and as required by the Welsh Pony and Cob Society a form of census and information and this form must be completed and returned to the Secretary of the Welsh Pony and Cob Society within the prescribed dates. Failure to complete and return the form within the period will result in the withdrawal of the privileges of association and participation in money and other grants.

6.      The Welsh Pony and Cob society as administrators of the Premium Scheme will arrange for two of it’s official judges annually to award Premiums to selected Welsh Mountain Pony Stallions presented by the Societies and will meet the cost of administration from it’s own funds.

7.      The judges so appointed will be guided in making their awards by the standard of type as laid down in the Society’s Stud Book, and will submit a schedule of their awards to the Secretary of the Society together with an informative Report.

8.      The judges will have absolute discretion in withholding Premiums and will give regard to the physical condition of the stallions, satisfying themselves that the ponies are fit for service, and will only approve stallions that possess the highest standard of quality.

9.      The inspection will generally be held in May of each year at the Royal Welsh Showground, Llanelwedd, Builth Wells.

10.  The Welsh Mountain Pony stallions awarded Premiums at Glanusk Show in from 2001 onwards will have mane samples taken for DNA typing on the Showground immediately following the Premium Classes. Animals that have already been DNA typed will not be re-done, but for all others it will be a condition of receiving the Premium. The cost of the DNA testing kit will be borne by the Society. Mr S.W.R.Mitchell has very kindly offered to take the mane samples free of charge and the Society wishes to thank him for his generosity. If the stallion owner prefers to have the DNA mane sample taken by his own Veterinary Surgeon after the Show he may do so. In this case he should take the DNA testing kit home with him and must ensure that the sample is taken no later than 10 days after the Show. His Veterinary Surgeon should post this to Newmarket in the normal way and the stallion owner must confirm, in writing, to the Secretary of the Welsh Pony and Cob Society that the sample has been taken. In this case the Veterinary Surgeon’s fees will be borne by the stallion owner.

11.  The rosettes will be awarded to the owners of the stallions that are awarded Premiums.

12.  The Societies must satisfy the Welsh Pony and Cob Society that the Stallion passes for a Premium is registered in Section A of the Stud Book and holds a Licence/Veterinary Certificate issued by the Welsh Pony and Cob Society. These documents must be recorded at the Society’s Office prior to the Inspection.

13.  The judges will place the entered stallions in order of merit according to their judgement for the purpose of Premiums.

14.  The judges will be at liberty to offer advice if it is sought on the merits of stallions which are not awarded Premiums or on matters of mutual interest.

15.  The Premiums awarded will be paid by the Welsh Pony and Cob Society on receipt of a certificate from the Secretary of the Improvement Society that the stallion in question has run on the Hill or Common in accordance with the conditions of the Scheme for the period 1st June (or before) to the 31st July.

16.  Improvement Societies may, on being recommended by the Improvement Societies and subject to the approval of Council, be allowed to run their stallions under fence provided that the stallions are made available to members of Hill Improvement Societies in the normal way.

17.  The Societies must guarantee that the stallions are roaming the Hills and Commons in respect of which the Premiums are awarded.

18.  The responsibility for loss or damage to the stallion or caused by the stallion from whatever cause is a risk which must be agreed as between the Association and the stallion owner. The Welsh Pony and Cob Society will not be responsible directly or indirectly under this Scheme or otherwise for any liability arising from any cause.

19.  First and final objects of the Premium Award Scheme shall always be the improvement of the Breed. The colour and markings of all foals will be scanned. The original colour and markings, as completed by the applicant, will be scanned directly onto the animal’s Passport. It is therefore vitally important that all markings are clearly shown, especially any distinguishing marks such as whorls, flesh (pink) marks and hoof colouring. New application forms are available from the Office – please do not use any old stocks of application forms.

 Please note that the following were approved following consultation with Welsh Mountain Pony Improvement Societies, members will note that some of these rules are already in being:

1.      No scrub stallions or yearling   colts to run on the Hill, requirement of the Commons Land Act.

2.      All members are required to abide by the Welsh Pony and Cob Society Welsh Mountain Pony Premium Scheme Rules.

3.      Members of Hill Pony Improvement Societies must be proven members of the Welsh Pony and Cob Society.

4.      All members’ young stock, mares and stallions are registered with the Welsh Pony and Cob Society and will carry a passport from 1999. If further legislation is necessary, the Society (Improvement) will co-operate.


New Ruling introduced in 2003.

a.      Animal Welfare Officers selected by the Society have the right to inform any member(s) of animal(s) that are not up to the standard expected. Notice of removal will be given with immediate effect.

b.      It was recommended that all members’ foals be taken off the common by 31st October of each year.

c.       A recommended worming programme be administered.

d.      All members are legally responsible for their own animals. However, the Society will take action deemed necessary of any member(s) contravening these matters.


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