Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Welsh ponies outsmart Henry VIII

 Welsh mountain pony

This isn't the first time the Welsh mountain ponies have been threatened with extinction.  The ponies were nearly made extinct 100's of years ago, around the beginning of the 16th century.  Apparently King Henry 8th, who had a reputation for killing anyone and anything that got in his way, demanded that the ponies all be destroyed.  His reasons for this were that they were too small - too small to carry a knight in full armour !  Luckily he didn't succeed, and some of the ponies survived. 

The Romans recognised their strength and agility though, and used them for many jobs while they were in Britain, and even took some back to their homeland .

They were also used in the 19th century by the coal miners to pull carts down into the coal mines.  That must have been a pretty miserable life for them.  Some of them even lived in the mines, staying in stalls built down there and living on hay, never seeing the light of day.

All this has made them very tough and strong, and made them into the hardy little ponies that they are today.  The welsh pony and cob society says "Bred in the mountains and wild regions of Wales for many generations, their acknowledged beauty does not mean they are merely a 'pretty toy' — centuries of 'survival of the fittest' has ensured the sound constitution, iron hard limbs and great intelligence"
society website

You  can definitely see they are tough and hardy little ponies, but they are also very beautiful.

 Some more photos here of the Welsh mountain ponies on Carneddau.  It started rain while I was photographing them, but they were starting to get used to me and I didn't want to leave so I carried on taking photos.  I didn't realise how wet my camera lens was getting, until I look at the photos later - you can see the photos getting more and more misty - but I actually think it gives quite a nice effect, kind of like a soft filter !

 Yearling welsh pony

This one has dreadlocks as he's loosing his winter coat.

 Yearling welsh pony

 Beautiful welsh mare

Welsh mare and foal

Even though people have recognised the ponies usefulness and adaptability during the centuries, they are still facing an uncertain future.  Some are being used for land conservation, but they are not very saleable, going for only a few pounds each at the sales.  In the next blog I will write about how a Welsh horse whisperer was bought in to try and help improve this.

Remember many of these prints can be purchased on my website or my Etsy shop

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