As part of a joint collaboration, The Rare Breeds Survival Trust approached the Welsh Pony & Cob Society last year as part of a Native Equine Conservation Project and we provided them with data for all the Welsh Breed sections. From this, the Welsh Pony ‘Section B’ has just recently been identified as being at risk.  Based on the concerning findings of their report, the Society is looking at a number of ways to try and redress this decline.

The Section B has been showing a decline in numbers over the past decade, from a peak of over 1000 foals annually, to just 409 in 2023. The Welsh Section ‘B’ has been a popular breed around the world but has also been declining in numbers globally.

The Chairman of the Welsh Pony and Cob Society, Ed Gummery said, “I welcome the findings of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in their research into the populations of the Welsh Breeds, and their findings relating to the Section ‘B’ breed is particularly thought provoking. Our breed society has reached a crossroads affected by many global factors, but is the first time any of the Welsh Sections have been recorded as ‘At Risk’ on the RBST Watchlist since the Welsh Mountain Hill Pony, some 25 years ago and this presents a further challenge.

As a Society, we will be using the RBST’s findings to positive effect, and are already looking at ways to promote the breed, which will instantly trigger the anticipated review of some recent show decisions as the Society had been awaiting this expected report and digested the subsequent findings. Urgent and priority re-consideration must now be given to encourage breeding programmes and to ensure that we encourage exhibitors of Welsh section ‘B’s continue to come forward to our affiliated events to showcase their stock.”

Those new to the Welsh breeds, and indeed equines in general, should be inspired by seeing Section ‘B’s, in the showring and performance disciplines alike. The breed is highly adept in many different competition disciplines, yet equally at home as the family pony used for hacking out and teaching young riders the ropes.

As a breeding animal, consider the Section ‘B’ as the ideal pure-bred sire or dam, but as a ‘Part Bred’ when crossed with other breeds, they can produce Riding Ponies, Hunter Ponies and useful Sports Ponies combining the influence of their Arabian and Thoroughbred bloodlines with the strong, hardy characteristics that are found in the Welsh blood that radiates a unique quality throughout.

Welsh Pony and Cob Society