Wild Welsh Mountain Ponies | What Is Their Future?


The Wild Mountain Ponies Of Wales

During our long walk around the Welsh Coast and Offas Dyke, we enjoyed several encounters with wild mountain ponies. It is really exciting to observe them in their natural habitat, and the exhilaration of watching herds gallop across commons and mountains is just wonderful

Unfortunately, their numbers are dwindling and in Wales there are now only 700-800 wild Welsh Mountain mares left. These beautiful little ponies are not truly wild but actually semi-wild, most are owned by farmers who have little contact with them

The majority of these Welsh Mountain ponies are non-pedigree, which in turn means that they are unregistered although several hundred are society registered and have traceable pedigrees. The Welsh Mountain Pony as a breed is not under any threat from extinction but their opportunity to live as herds in their natural surroundings is

Herd Of Semi Wild Welsh Mountain Ponies In Pembrokeshire

Just as Nature Intended

They are an integral part of the traditional farmer-breeder lifestyle, adding a completely unique dimension to the hills and mountains of Wales, it will be a tragic loss if we lose them

Their contribution to the environment should not be understated; they play an important role in the management of important habitats. They thrive on rough grazing and unlike cattle will often eat poor quality forage. Wildlife conservation groups sometimes use them to graze sensitive areas like wetlands that could not withstand heavy trampling

Their manner of grazing creates varied vegetation, which is so much better for insects, birds and small mammals. Generally, unlike cattle and sheep, they do not graze flower heads or heather and that in turn encourages better seed germination leading to more a more diverse flora and fauna system

These semi-wild Welsh ponies are hardy and self sufficient, needing very little in outside care; despite living outside in all weather they keep their weight and maintain good condition. We came across them thriving happily on exposed cliff tops, marshland, moors and high mountains

So why are the numbers of these lovely ponies dwindling? Anyone who has attended a horse sale in Wales recently will know the answer, the cost of rearing them often exceeds the market value

Additionally, there are more regulations now regarding grazing rights on some commons, and the traditional farmer-breeder is retiring without a younger successor taking up the task

Their future could be secured if more land management agencies would stop the practice of using of other British pony breeds and sometimes foreign ponies (the Polish Konik being one example) and instead use the Welsh mountain ponies of local strains for conservation work, ponies that have evolved to cope with local conditions

There is also an untapped tourism attraction, most people love seeing ponies in their natural habitat, other native breeds of ponies are a huge attraction in other parts of the Uk, Dartmoor being one obvious example and with the All Wales Coastal Path now open, there is not a better time to experience these ponies

We are totally opposed to indiscrimate breeding of any animal just to generate a quick profit, and Wales in recent years has experienced adverse publicity with some pony and dog breeders failing dismally in their care of their animals. What we are suggesting is a co-ordinated programme that brings together the responsible breeders with the land management agencies to preserve and promote this valuable and precious Welsh pony breed

These semi wild indigenous ponies represent a valuable part of Welsh history and culture, and they deserve better from us…

Some Pretty Pembrokeshire Ponies
Wild Ponies On Offas Dyke
Stallions Behaving Naturally

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  1. I am so grateful for your words on the “wild” Welsh Pony/Cob Horse. I would like to know about rescue/adoption here in the US. I’m in Bend, Or
    Thank you,

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