Conformation: Small, well set on head with broad forehead, bright, prominent eye, small, neat ears, large nostrils and fine throat and jaws; strong neck but not too heavy, giving a good length of rein; good sloping shoulders; strong, deep body with muscular loins; strong hindquarters with well set-on tail; strong limbs with plenty of good flat bone below the knee and well formed feet with characteristic blue horn.
Other: The Duke of Edinburgh competes in trials with a team of Fells.
Translated from Afrikaans, Nooitgedacht means “Never Imagined” an apt name for a horse that will exceed all your expectations! The Nooitgedacht Pony is found in the eastern Transvaal region of South Africa. It used for both riding and draft. The breed was developed during the 1950s from the Basuto Pony with some Boerand Arab blood at the Nooitgedacht Research Station near Ermelo. The breed is rare.
Most importantly the Nooitgedacht is famed for its incredibly soft nature and intelligence. They are known to be “mense-liewend” translated as “people loving”. Their affinity for people cannot be over emphasized.
They must be a strongly built, with the emphasis on ride-ability and endurance.
Hardiness is vital, with a sturdy bone structure, strong muscles and excellent feet.
A compact build, short back, sloping shoulders and comfortable gaits, enables them to carry a heavy man (80-90 kg) for long distances without becoming tired or tiring the rider.
Another characteristic of the breed is its surefootedness and hooves that do not need to be shod.
Because they require so little care and they are able to live on the veldt they are very easy to keep. This is a trait of the Basuto Pony from which they emanate.
There is a minimum height requirement of 13.2 hh with 15 hh being the ideal.
The Caspian is an ancient breed previously believed to have been extinct for over one thousand years. This breed is probably the most direct ancestor of the Oriental breeds and subsequently of all light horse breeds.
Conformation: The Caspian head is short and fine with large eyes, a small muzzle, and large nostrils placed low. There is a pronounced development of the forehead, the ears are very short; the neck is slim and graceful, well attached to sloping shoulders; withers are pronounced; the back straight; and the tail set high on a rather level croup. The legs are slim with dense, strong bone and no feathering at the fetlock. The hooves are extremely strong and oval-shaped, more like those of the ass than the horse. The overall impression of the Caspian is that of a vary small, well-proportioned horse. Subsequent studies confirmed the visual picture osteologically; the Caspian is a miniature horse, not a pony. The color ranges from bay, gray, or chestnut and occasionally black.
Other Info: A survey conducted from July of 1965 through August 1968 to determine the range and approximate number of remaining Caspians. The survey indicated that there were approximately fifty small horses with definite Caspian characteristics along the entire littoral of the Caspian Sea. Due to the fact that the individuals were widely scattered, it was virtually impossible for any of them to be considered completely pure.
During the period from 1965 to 1970 seven mares and six stallions were used for breeding at Norouzabad Stud. During that time it was observed that the growth of the Caspian is distinctive in that most of the height is attained within the first six months of life and subsequent growth is minimal, mostly being in width and secondary sexual characteristics. Sexual maturity is reached in both colts and fillies at about eighteen months. The mares have a strong tendency not to ovulate until about a year after foaling, making a continuous breeding program difficult. Due to the improved conditions and feed, the mature height of offspring born at Norouzabad is smaller than the average height of sire and dam, possibly indicating that the original size of the Caspian is closer to 9 hands. This also indicates that the present stock is not completely pure and that breeding to type will further emphasize the true conformation of the Caspian and lead to a return of the natural size.
The Caspian is no longer in danger of extinction, although the breed is still extremely rare. Several studs now exist in Britain and a few individuals have been exported to Australia, New Zealand and the United States. The Caspian is very versatile and is becoming known in the show ring with its exceptional jumping ability. The driving poweress that endeared it to Darius the Great still makes this horse a favorite in harness.
Conformation: Variable. Overall appearance somewhat coarse, with rather upright shoulders, flat withers and low set tail, though conformational improvements are being made though the introduction of TB.
Also Known By:Islenzki hesturinn, Icelandic toelter horse, Iceland Tolter The Icelandic horse is descended from horses brought to Iceland by settlers over eleven centuries ago. Comparison between the Icelandic horse, at the time of the settlement of Iceland, and ancient Norwegian and German horses show them to have similar bone structure. Some consider it likely that there was a separate species of horse, Ecuus scandianavicus, found in these areas. These horses were later crossed with other European breeds, except in Iceland where it remained relatively pure. Some have said that the Icelandic horse is related to the Shetland but the Icelandic has a genotype which is very different from other European horse populations.
The first breed societies for the Icelandic were formed in 1904 with the first register being formed in 1923. In the early 1900's the Icelandic horse was used extensively in Iceland for transportation and travel and as a working horse. In the 1940's and 50's its role was coming to an end but it has now been rediscovered in its native country and is recognized as a unique sport and family horse. The Icelandic horse is described as a rather small, sturdy and hardy, but not light in build and thus often lacking in elegance. But the strong characteristics of the breed are said to be the versatility in riding performance, lively temperament and strong but workable character. Traditionally the Icelandic horse has been raised free range or in a herd which no doubt is part of the reason for these strong characteristics. The average height is between 13 and 14 hands with an average weight of between 330 and 380 kg. All colors are found except appaloosa marking, with the most common being chestnut. All white markings are acceptable and there are pinto in all of the base colors. The horses have long, thick manes and tails and the winter coat is double. The appearance of the Icelandic horse in countries outside of Iceland has changed somewhat due to upgrading programs used during the 1950's.
Although traditionally the Icelandic horse was raised free range this is no longer the case. During the 1900's the breeding and rearing of Icelandic horses has changed and is now very similar to horse breeding found throughout Europe and North America.
In Iceland, although breeding of riding horses is the main objective, meat production is going on as well, even though no special consideration has been given to that aspect as far as breeding is concerned. The meat was once a very valuable commodity but has declined somewhat due to increased competition and decreased popularity. Much of the meat is now exported to Japan.
In addition to the standard walk, trot and canter, the Icelandic horse has tolt, a “running walk” similar to the gait found in the American Saddlebred, Paso Fino and Tennessee Walker. Some are also bred for a special "flying pace" or skold, which is a very fast lateral gait used for racing short distances. Some horses can reach almost 30 miles an hour using this pace.
Diseases are almost unknown among Icelandic horses. Protection of the horses is assured by the strict regulations of the Icelandic government. No horse which has been taken out of Iceland can come back into the country. Also only new, unused horse equipment may be taken to Iceland. This is to prevent an outbreak of disease which could decimate the population of Icelandic horses.
Because Iceland has no predators, but instead is a country with tremendous environmental danger, such as quicksand, rock slides, rivers with changing currents, the ability to assess a situation rather than the instinct to flee, have been central in the survival of the horse. Therefore, these horses lack the “spookiness” that characterizes most horses. Due perhaps to their lack of fear of living things, they seek strong attachments to people and are quite nurturing and affectionate.
The breed standard for Icelandic horses is uniform throughout the world, as are registration rules, rules of breeding competitions and rules of performance competitions. All such activities are strictly regulated by the international association for Icelandic horses. Training by any artificial methods is strictly forbidden.
The original home of the Welsh Mountain pony was in the hills and valleys of Wales. He was there before the Romans. His lot was not an easy one. Winters were severe. Vegetation was sparse. Shelter, most often, was an isolated valley or a clump of bare trees. Yet the Welsh pony managed not only to survive, but to flourish.
Led by proud stallions, bands of mares and their foals roamed in a semi-wild state, climbing mountains, leaping ravines, running over rough terrain. This sort of existence insured perpetuation of the breed through only the most hardy of stock. Hence, the development of a pony with a remarkable soundness of body, a tremendous endurance, and a high degree of native intelligence.
Even an edict of Henry VII that all horses under 15 hands be destroyed did not eliminate the Welsh. Hiding in desolate areas where his persecutors were reluctant or unable to go, perhaps at Nant Llwyd, he continued to live and reproduce, preserving for mankind a distinctive strain of pony that today has generated enthusiasm among breeders and pony lovers all over the world.
Down through the years, the Welsh pony has served many masters. There is evidence to support the belief that he pulled chariots in vast sports arenas. He has worked in coal mines, on ranches, and on postmen's routes.
The Welsh pony has adapted himself to the whims and needs of humans as easily as to his environment. He loves people. He responds well to proper treatment and discipline. He can be trusted. He is an ideal pony for a growing child, and he has the spirit and endurance to challenge an adult.
Because of his heritage, the Welsh pony is not bothered by the somewhat extreme variations of climate and terrain encountered in the United States and Canada.
That the Welsh pony carries a trace of Arabian blood seems beyond doubt. However, he has maintained his own dominant physical characteristics over the years. It has been demonstrated that the Welsh crosses well with many other breeds, and this is, to some breeders, an important aspect of his unusual versatility.
One of the most noted Welsh breeders wrote: "The blood of the Welsh Mountain pony of perfect type can improve any other blood with which it is mixed. This is a very strong statement to make, but I have had ample opportunity to prove it."
The purebred Welsh pony of today is an animal of great beauty and refinement. He has a proud. Aristocratic bearing. Yet he has the substance, the stamina, and the soundness of body and wind which are characteristic of animals that long have lived close to nature.
The purebred Welsh of today has a friendly personality and an even temper, intelligent and constantly alert. He has spirit, but this spirit is combined with gentleness and a willingness to obey. He does not resent discipline and shows respect for the master. Young or old. Who shows respect for him.
For those unacquainted with the Welsh, the first sight of a small herd, perhaps grazing in a hollow near a stream, is something to be remembered... "They are startled at your approach. For one second they stand with heads erect, nostrils distended, ears pricked and tails held high. Then they are off, flying over the rocks and rough ground, sure-footed and beautiful, their manes and tails tossed in the wind.
In selecting the one we want, we shall look for the great bold eye, the tiny head, short back, strong quarters, high set of tail, fine hair, hocks that do not turn in, the laid-back shoulder, the straight foreleg, and the short, so very short, cannon bone."
One of the outstanding breeders of Welsh has said: "The bigger the eye, the better; the deeper through the heart, the stronger the prouder the lift of the head, the more courageous; the swifter the action, the more fearless."
The pure Welsh pony may be any color: black, gray, bay, roan, cream, or chestnut. He can never be piebald or skewbald.
Although essential points of conformation can be listed and should be considered, it is the combination of desirable physical characteristics, plus a pony's highly individual personality, plus one's own preference for color, which makes a pony exactly the right pony for any one person.
One of the great thrills of breeding Welsh ponies is the chance or calculated mating of two animals, so compatible and complementary, that they produce a near-perfect specimen. This is the challenge. And the goal, with carefully chosen Welsh stock, is not unattainable.
Welsh ponies were imported by American breeders as early as the 1889s. George E. Brown of Aurora, Illinois, appears to have been one of the first real Welsh enthusiasts, importing a large number of animals between 1884 and 1910. Principally through his efforts and those of John Alexander, The Welsh Pony & Cob (the word "Cob" was dropped in 1946) Society of America was formed and certification for the establishment of a breed registry was issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on July 30, 1907.
By 1913 a total of 574 Welsh had been registered, and the owner-breeder list showed applications coming from Vermont, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, Texas, Oregon, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York City, and Canada. The popularity of the Welsh was spreading, and his great versatility was already becoming apparent, not only because he was adapting himself well to any geographical area, but because he was being put to many uses, both by children and adults.
It was the concern of early importers and breeders that a "purity of the breed" be maintained, and this subject was regularly discussed with Welsh and English breeders who had established their own registry in 1901. Mr. Brown summarized his views in this way in a report to members of the American Society: "With a correct standard fixed and uniformly adhered to, nothing can block the advancement of Welsh to front rank in their classes." He called the Welsh "the grandest little horse yet produced". Today's Welsh pony is a quality animal of unusual versatility and wide use. To see him is to admire him and love him. To own him and enjoy his companionship is a privilege that certainly will be enjoyed by more and more people over the years ahead.
No wonder in these days of rising costs and enforced economy the Welsh Cob (and his smaller counterpart, the Welsh Pony of Cob type) becomes more and more popular as he gets better known. He is an "all-rounder" - equally suitable for riding or driving. Moreover he is healthy, hardy and strong, living out all the year round.
For the average horse-loving family he answers the longing for something easy to manage and keep. He meets the needs of young and old alike. He has the warm-blooded lovable pony nature - active, kind, intelligent and willing. He has no pampered background. Throughout the ages he has flourished and worked on the small Welsh farm sharing in the often poverty-stricken conditions that prevailed. This was the sort of life that has made him what he is.
Evidence of the existence of the Welsh Cob in the middle ages and even earlier can be found in mediaeval Welsh literature. According to description he had to be "fleet of foot, a good jumper, a good swimmer and able to carry a substantial weight on his back". He had also to be capable of drawing loads of timber from the forests and doing the general work on the upland farms long before the introduction of heavier animals. Both in times of peace and war he has played his part. No doubt in 1485 the British throne was gained by Henry Tudor with the help of the Welsh Militia on their cobs which he gathered round him on his arrival from France at Milford Haven as he traveled up the west coast of Wales. And indeed much later the Morgan Horse almost certainly owed his origin to the Welsh cobs left behind by the British Army after the American War of Independence at the end of the 18th century.
So valuable was he to the Army for the mounted infantry and for pulling heavy guns and equipment over rough and often mountainous terrain that premiums were paid to the best stallions by the War Office up to 30 years ago and not as at present by the Horserace Betting Levy Board.
The founders of the Welsh Pony and Cob Society in 1901, in their wisdom, decided to register and record this ancient breed together with the Welsh Mountain Ponies and the larger Welsh Ponies in the Welsh Stud Book, dividing them into four sections according to height and type. Essentially the description for each section is similar - the typical short Welsh pony head with small ears, the large prominent eyes and open nostrils, the well-laid shoulder, short back and powerful muscular quarters With gay tall carriage - standing on good clean legs with dense bone on sound feet. The characteristic fast trotting action of the Welsh Cob and Pony of Cob Type like that of the Mountain Pony should be true, bold and free, covering the ground with forceful impulsion from the hocks.
Before the advent of the motor car the Welsh Cob was the speediest mode of transport for the doctor or tradesman and others eager to get from here to there in the shortest time. Business men in South Wales were, known to select a cob by trotting him all the way from Cardiff to Dowlais - some 35 miles uphill all the way. The best would do this in under three hours never slackening or changing pace from start to finish.
Before licensing was introduced in 1918 stallions and breeding stock were selected by this kind of test and by means of the old trotting matches which took place with a stopwatch over a measured distance on many roads in Wales. Such names as the many Comets, Flyers and Expresses which abound in the early volumes of the Stud Book testify to their speed and prowess.
Nowadays the Welsh Cob has come back into his own after a long period of disregard and neglect. He has proved himself as the ideal trekking animal - safe, sure-footed and responsive - and for private driving he is unrivaled. A natural jumper, he is also, owing to his tractable and gentle disposition, perfect for the disabled rider.
At shows Welsh Cob classes always draw the crowds who love to see these magnificent creatures shown in hand by experts, displaying their presence and courageous action. In harness, too, the Welsh Cob is spectacular and has recently proved in combined training events under F.E.I. Rules that he can compete against all and beat, them. His innate suitability for high school and dressage in the "Lippizaner" manner is being now realized and demonstrated in Austria.
He crosses especially well with the Thoroughbred to produce hunters, jumpers and event horses or with the Arab to get a riding pony with more bone and substance. At one time cob mares were in great demand as the foundation for Polo Ponies to obtain the agility and nimbleness necessary.
Any color is allowed - except piebald or skewbald. Chestnut, bay, brown and black are most usual. Greys are rare, but there are a number of duns, palominos and creams.
The Welsh Cob is beyond doubt the most versatile of animals in existence and long ago established a reputation as the best ride and drive animal in the world.