- Origin: Wales
- Height: Usually 14-15.1 hh.
- Color: Any color except piebald and skewbald. Bay, black, brown, chestnut and roan are most commonly found.
- Character: Bold and energetic, an intelligent animal with an equable temperament and a pony character.
Physique: The build resembles a heavier, scaled-up Welsh Mountain pony with head small and full of quality; eyes bold and wide-set, ears small and pricked. Neck long and proudly-carried, setting into strong shoulders; forelegs setsquare and forward, not tied in at the elbow. It has body strong, deep-girthed, muscular, hindquarters lengthy, powerful, tail high-set and proud. Legs strong with plenty of bone below the knee and a little silky feather on the fetlocks (coarse, wiry hair is objected to).
It has well-shaped and dense feet, action free, straight and forceful. At a trot the knee should be bent and the whole foreleg extended straight from the shoulder and as far forward as possible; hocks flexed under the body in straight, powerful leverage. It is a brave and strong animal with great stamina and surefooted. It is a natural jumper, also famous for speed and soundness.
As can be seen from its resemblance to the pre potent Welsh Mountain pony, the Welsh cob evolved on its own home ground. The mixture of foreign blood that gave it its height and strength can only be guessed at — and loosely guessed at that — but in 1188 the Archdeacon of Brecon, one Geraldde Barri, while traveling in a mid-Welsh district called Posy’s, came across most excellent studs put apart for breeding, and deriving their origin from some fine Spanish horses, which Robert de Belesme, Count of Shrewsbury, brought into this country; on which account the horses sent from hence are remarkable for their majestic proportion and astonishing fleetness.
These 11th-century Spanish horses were just the kind of animal that a Norman baron would consider worth importing even at considerable expense. They were the ancestors of the famous Andalusian breed, which in turn was the ancestor of the modern Lipizzaner, by way of the Neapolitan; but they also managed, by their union with Welsh mountain mares, to engender the Welsh cob, which under the name of Poway’s horse was to provide so many remounts for English armies from the 13th century onwards. Astonishing fleetness and majestic proportions are of course both relative; the former by contrast with the lumbering Norman Destrier, and the latter by contrast with the Welsh pony. But then, under-statement was never one of Gerald’s literary faults.
At what point the Posy’s cob merged into the Welsh cob, and what variations took place in the centuries between (it is suggested here and there that the Welsh cob may have been blood-brother to the now-extinct Welsh carthorse), it is beyond my ability to guess; but the Welsh cob of today and the Posy’s cob of 800 years ago were very much alike to look at.
The Cob was used for pack and riding in both world wars. It was crossed with the thoroughbred to produce good hunters, played its part in the development of the Hackney and even of the Fell pony, and has had out-standing influence in the development of trotting horses all over the world.
See more: Welsh Mountain Pony