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The Perfect Pony for Children-Welsh Ponies
Welsh Ponies Are Perfect For Beginners
Girls and Horses
Young girls love horses. I was no different as a child. I cannot remember a time that I did not want a horse. I had read all the books, King of the Wind, The Black Stallion, My Friend Flicka, Misty Of Chincoteague and so many more. I learned that a horse was the greatest friend a girl could ever have.
Living in the suburbs of Long Island, I was assured that owning a horse was not a viable option. Therefore I picked the next best option and asked for riding lessons for my 9th birthday present. Imagine my pleasure when my wish was granted!
I began taking lessons at a stable about an hour away. I have no idea where it was, only that the woman who taught me was a wonderful, loving person. I not only learned how to ride, but on rainy days learned how to care for the horses. I find it amusing now to think my parents paid for me to do chores such as mucking out stalls and brushing the horses. You may find it amusing to know that I loved the chores almost as much as I loved the riding.
This woman had many horses of all types and ages. I did not take private lessons, but took lessons with other children. We all had our favorite horses, and one of my favorites was a Welsh pony. His disposition was gentle and agreeable, making him a perfect match for my new rider skills.
Welsh ponies are very versatile and can be ridden by all skill levels. These smart creatures seem to know when you are new, and they take extra care with you. It was as if I was being taught by the horse as much as by the teacher. My love for these beautiful animals took hold and remains with me to this day.
One Of My Very Favorite Books
This was one of my favorite books as a child. It is the story of horse and the boy who spends his life with the horse. The story of this superbly fast horse starts with his birth in Morocco. From Morocco the horse and boy travel to the court in France and then onto England. The horse was used as a kitchen horse and a work horse. His son eventually wins the Queen's purse at Newcastle. The legend goes that his speed and stamina live on. This horse eventually becomes called the Godolphin Arabian. His blood line includes several prominent thoroughbred horses, such as Man o' War.
Look At Those Intelligent Eyes
A Short History
Welsh ponies originated in Wales, a small and beautiful country located on the western border of the island of Great Britain. Wales is a country of mountains, valleys and coastline. The weather varies due to the changing geographic conditions. This diversity led to the development of an extremely hardy and intelligent species of ponies.
Welsh ponies are said to be originated from the prehistoric Celtic pony. No-one really knows when these ponies came to Wales, but we do know they existed prior to 55 BC, the time of the Roman occupation. Julius Caesar was so impressed by these ponies that he imported them to Rome to use as chariot horses. They were a great favorite of the charioteers for their endurance and their heart.
Over the centuries the Welsh ponies were bred with Arabian horses. Arabian horses were bred over the years for endurance, intelligence, and friendliness. The Arabian horses are high-spirited, but this trait is tempered by the Welsh of the pony.
The Welsh have used these fine animals to ride, pull plows, and pull wagons. The Welsh coal miners used these ponies in the mines. Welsh ponies have been used by postmen and by the calvary. Today they are mainly kept for pleasure and for show.
In the late 1800's the Welsh pony was imported to the United States. They were renowned for their friendliness and ease of training. In 1957 there were 2,881 Welsh ponies registered in the United State. Over the years this breed has gained popularity. They have all the greatest American traits; adaptability, friendliness, endurance and heart. As of 2010, there are more than 45,000 Welsh ponies registered in the United States.
Welsh Pony Waiting For "His" Person
The Difference Between Ponies and Horses
Ponies are generally shorter than horses. Horses measure 14.2 hands (a hand is 4 inches) or taller at the withers (withers is the tallest part of the shoulder located at the base of the neck). But this rule does not always hold true. Arabian horses may be smaller than 14.2 hands and still considered horses. Falabellas are always considered horses even though they only grow to approximately 8.5 hands. Obviously it is more than mere height (or lack of) that makes a pony a pony.
Ponies also differ in appearance from horses. Their heads are smaller and wider. Their eyes are bigger and bolder. Ponies have short and sturdy cannon bones, thicker barrels and necks, a shorter back and thicker and coarser manes, tails and coats.
Ponies are made for strength and endurance. Their bones are denser and stronger than a horse's. A pony can pull a load twice its weight, but the largest draft horse can only pull a load that is its own weight's worth.
Ponies seem to be more resistant to extreme weather and diseases than horses. They are also known to be more intelligent. At times their intelligence may make them seem stubborn. Remember that the pony will learn easily. Welsh ponies will also train you to their whims when possible.
A Pony For Everyone
Welsh ponies come in four distinctive classes. Each class retains the classic Welsh characteristics of endurance, intelligence and friendliness. They mainly differ in their height and uses.
There is no other breed of pony or horse today that is as suitable for all age groups as the Welsh pony is. From big to small, the Welsh pony has something for everyone. This type of pony can be used for pleasure riding, barrels, jumping and more.
Welsh Mountain Ponies are Ideal for Younger Riders
Welsh Mountain Pony
The Welsh Mountain Pony is ideal for younger children. Growing no more than 12.2 hands they are the perfect first ride for children. These ponies are loved far and wide for their endearing personalities and friendly temperaments. This web-site gives excellent advice on how to look for your child's first pony. It seems they know, as I do, that every pony is not meant for every person. Owning a pony is not a spur of the moment purchase, and one must do their research well.
I Love The Extra Spring In Welsh Ponies Gaits, It Makes Them Seem To Float
Welsh Riding Pony
As your child grows and develops as a rider, the Welsh Riding Pony will grow with them. These ponies are a little larger than the mountain pony types, growing to 14.2 hands. The riding pony possesses a more elegant ride along with jumping capabilities. Usually these ponies will have some Thoroughbred or Hackney blood incorporated into their backgrounds. This pony will meet the challenges a slightly older child wants.
Notice How Small Some Of The Children Riding Are.
Welsh Pony of the Cob Type
The Welsh Pony of the Cob type is between the riding pony and mountain pony in height. The maximum height for this type of pony is 13.2 hands. Their natural courage makes them a good choice for trail riding. The Cob type is also a proficient jumper.
I think the Cob type are very cute because of the hair that grows around their hooves. I love this feature in ponies and horses. The "fringe effect" is well known to gain a girl's heart. We all love long silky hair, don't we?
Notice How Much Larger The Welsh Cobs Are
Welsh Cob Pony
The Welsh Cob pony is a minimum of 13.2 hands and has no upper limits. This pony is ideal for adults and children alike. Retaining the laid-back temperament of the other Welsh ponies, this type is large enough that an adult does not feel bad riding one. Granted, the other types of ponies are strong enough to be ridden by an adult, but the adult may feel strange riding a such a small animal.
These ponies were the destriers of legend. Do you remember King Arthur and his knights? They all had a destrier (or war horse). I'm sure you have read of the special bond between a knight and a destrier, but I bet you never realized that many of these stallions were Welsh Cob ponies.
Before the advent of the automobile, these ponies were the fastest conveyance for doctors. Many the life was saved due to the speed and endurance of this type of pony.The Welsh Cob is all that for the experienced rider. But, these animals are gentle enough for an inexperienced rider also.
Different Welsh Types
Type of Pony
Welsh Mountain Pony (Section A)
Welsh Riding Pony (Section B)
Welsh Pony of the Cob Type (Section C)
Welsh Cob Pony (Section D)
Maximum Height (In Hands)
Minimum 13.2 With No Upper Limit
Activities They Are Best For
Pleasure Riding, Beginning Jumping
Trail Riding, Jumping
Horse Drawn Vehicles, Show Riding, Show Jumping
Friendly and Gentle
An Elegant Ride
Courage, Fringe Above Hooves
Speed and Endurance, Large Enough For Adult
Famous Welsh Ponies
Boomer and Sooner are the mascots of the University of Oklahoma. Beginning in 1980, there have been 5 sets of Boomer and Sooner. The current Boomer and Sooner recently went to Pasadena, CA for the Rose Bowl. Their role in the football games is to pull a Schooner (a small covered wagon) across the field after every touchdown. It is an impressive fact that they did not spook or shy during the Rose Bowl with it's almost 93,000 people cheering.
Brookside Pink Magnum living on the Rebedon Farm is the model for the Breyer traditional Welsh pony. Magnum is a Welsh Riding Pony. This stallion is prized not only for his conformation, but also for his personality. He is said to love young children and has a extremely gentle nature.
I Love Welsh Ponies
I hope that you now understand the difference between ponies and horses, and why I so love the Welsh ponies. Yes they can be stubborn, but they are smart enough to learn a new trick if we take the time to teach them. I truly feel these ponies are the best place to start your child's teaching of equestrian skills. Their intelligence and temperament make these ponies perfect for the beginner. They are also perfect for the more experienced rider. Your children will love and trust these ponies. I have found that these ponies form a loving and lasting relationship with "their" people.
© 2010 Kari Poulsen