Welsh mountain ponies and cobs

The Brecon Beacons are home to one of the world's oldest and prettiest horse breeds.

Welsh cobs have been running free in the uplands of the Brecon Beacons since Roman times. Over the centuries the harsh climate and poor grazing meant only the strongest, fittest and most intelligent individuals survived.

These semi-wild Welsh cobs were probably always used by local farmers, but during the 18th century their unique qualities began to be recognised further afield. Many worked in the coal mines of South Wales, for example, and in the early 20th century others were exported to Australia and America.

Despite this, the Welsh pony slowly fell out of favour and now there are just 800 registered pure mares left. The Welsh cob and pony are recognised as a rare breed and many local farms are working to ensure their survival.

Nevertheless these hardy, brave little ponies still do sterling work at Welsh riding centres. To see them in action you have only to try horse riding in the Brecon Beacons.

You may even see wild Welsh mountain ponies out on the uplands of the Brecon Beacons National Park.