Ride Around the World Horse: The Welsh Cob of Wales
In the spirit of this year's Ridefest theme, "Ride Around the World," we're going to explore a horse breed from across the world each week.
The Welsh Cob
Environment: Cool temperate
Origin: 11th-12th century
Colors: All solid
Uses: Harness, Saddle
The Welsh Cob, with its explosive trotting action, arouses as much fervor in its native land as do the Welsh choirs or rugby football. It is the natural successor to the great trotting tradition of the Norfolk Roadster, which played a part in its evolution. As a harness horse, the Welsh Cob is unsurpassed in stamina and courage and, under saddle, it is a bold ride with great jumping ability.
Breeding: The Welsh Cob is, in perfection, a larger version of the Welsh Mountain Pony, which represents its base. These ponies were crossed with Roman imports and then, in the 11th and 12th centuries, with Spanish horses to produce the Powys Cob and a heavier animal, the Welsh Cart Horse. In the 18th and 19th centuries, outcrosses to Norfolk Roadsters and Yorkshire Coach Horses, with a mixture of Arabian blood, resulted in the modern Cob. In the past, there was a big market for the Cobs as gun horses and troopers for mounted infantry. Until the 1960s, Cobs were employed in large numbers on milk, break, and general delivery rounds in the big cities.
Characteristics: The Welsh Cob is in demand as a harness and saddle horse, and as a cross with the Thoroughbred to produce competition horses. The Cob is economical to keep, exceptionally hardy, robust in constitution, and inherently sound.
Edwards, Elwyn Hartley; Langrish, Bob (PHT). “Welsh Cob.” Smithsonian Handbooks Horses, Dk Pub., pp. 158–159.