Are There Wild Ponies In Wales

Bob Roberts
• Wednesday, 04 November, 2020
• 7 min read

This month's guest editor, Mary McCartney, grew up riding horses on a remote farm in Scotland. Her recent book, The White Horse, provided the inspiration for her trip to photograph the hardy wild ponies of the Carnelian mountains.

wales ponies wild isle anglesey dunes
(Source: www.dreamstime.com)


The Carnelian mountains in Rondônia National Park cover thousands of acres, with some peaks soaring more than 3,000 feet. Rainfall is heavy, winds are high, winter temperatures are bitterly cold, and people are scarce.

“The ponies are as wild as the hills,” says Gareth Won Jones, a local farmer whose ancestors have managed them for 370 years. Carnelian ponies are gathered annually for health checks by local farmers, who clip their tails before returning them to the mountains.

Their bodies are left on the hills, providing carrion for birds and foxes, each death supporting new life. Proposed agricultural funding cuts by the Welsh government could bring an end to the centuries of protection hill farmers such as Jones have provided to the ponies.

Lower down the slopes, the ponies keep the grass short enough to provide suitable habitat for the though. The Carnelian mountain ponies are smaller than other breeds, making them hardier and better able to survive the harsh weather.

They may be easier to spot in winter when they're lower down the mountain, but if you're there in spring you may be lucky enough to see a foal. Eternal symbols of freedom, wild horses have captured the hearts of many over the past centuries.

ponies isle anglesey wales wild
(Source: www.dreamstime.com)

Wild horses galloping across the land is a romantic image that we see in countless literature and art pieces. The most common wild horse breeds are the mustang, Przewalski, Crumby, and Welsh Pony.

What most people call wild horses” are actually feral or semi-feral animals living in a natural setting. Przewalski’s horses are a rare and endangered breed, with only about 2,000 animals left worldwide across zoos and nature reserves.

The breed has adapted perfectly to its harsh environment, with horses seen digging out forage from under ice and snow to survive the winter. The König is a Polish wild horse breed that lives in semi-feral conditions in nature reserves across Europe.

Once they were thought to be the descendants of a now-extinct true wild horse breed, the Tarzan, but genetic studies disproved this theory. All Monks have a blue dun (grille) coat with primitive markings such as a striped back and zebra-striped legs.

These hardy animals played a role in the First World War, where they provided transport for the Russian and German military. Today, there are around a couple of thousand König horses in the world, living with little human interference in nature reserves.

wild ponies wales welsh hay taken above
(Source: www.housesittingperfected.com)

They are the symbols of the American West and pioneering spirit with an inspiring story that captured people’s hearts around the world. Due to countless horse breeds’ influence over the centuries, Mustangs can be of any color and body type.

The stray horses then formed feral herds and developed into the hardy and intelligent Mustangs we know today. After a lot of conflict with local ranchers, in 1971, the U.S. Government has released a law that protects free-roaming horses and burros as living symbols of the American West.

Their story is parallel to that of the American Mustang, as they also arrived at the continent alongside settlers and are the symbols of pioneering spirit. There ’s no uniform color, height, or type in Rubies, as they have descended from a mixture of many horse breeds.

Because only the strongest animals could survive such a long journey, the foundation stock for the Crumby included exceptionally healthy and resilient horses. Given their debated role in the Australian ecosystem, Rubies haven’t enjoyed the government’s protection until recently.

They are a common sight in the Northern Territory or Queensland areas and roam free in national parks throughout the country. Photo by Gerald de BeerThis rare wild horse breed lives free in the Namib Desert of southwestern Africa.

ponies wild wales gower peninsula run docile appear although track always should these
(Source: pigeonpairandme.com)

Due to their warm blood breeding, Namib Desert Horses have an athletic, muscular body with good conformation and strong bones. Because they’re an invasive species on this continent, some people argued that the horses should be removed to protect native herbivore habitats.

Najib Horses have also been the subjects of scientific studies that observe their effects on the local ecosystem. Photo by dbkingThis wild pony breed roams the island of Assateague by the eastern shore of the United States.

Contrary to the common belief, Chincoteague Ponies haven’t actually descended from the horses of wrecked Spanish ships. Due to scarce forage and the harsh natural habitat of Assateague Island, the original horses have shrunk and developed into hardy ponies able to survive on minimal food.

The feral herds living on the Virginia side are rounded up annually, and some ponies go to public auctions. The Cam argue is a wild horse breed native to the picturesque marshlands of the Rhone delta in southern France.

Feral herds have existed in the region for thousands of years, and over time they became ingrained in the local culture. Other than taking part in local cattle herding events, the Cam argue Horse is also talented in dressage and endurance riding.

wild ponies welsh preview
(Source: www.dreamstime.com)

Photo by Dana Boomerang Dakota is a wild horse breed originally from the badlands of North Dakota in the United States. The Dakota developed during the 19th century when local ranch horses mixed with the already free-roaming feral herds.

After their near-extinction in the early 20th century, the only surviving herds lived in the newly created Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Currently, the national park aims to maintain a herd of 70 to 110 horses and sell off excess stock.

When trained under saddle, Dakota Horses show particular talent in endurance and western riding and many English disciplines. After battling humans and their harsh environment for hundreds of years, the horses have earned the right to live undisturbed on the island.

However, this is due to scarce food supply on the island, and the horses do grow taller when fed a nutritious diet. Although the story of horses swimming ashore from shipwrecks is a romantic one, the breed’s actual origins are much less exciting.

To increase their quality and value, Thoroughbred, Clydesdale, and Morgan horses were taken to the island in the early 19th century. In response to a public appeal, the Canadian government pronounced the Sable Island Horses fully protected from human interference.

welsh wild mountain ponies pony horses breeds wales herd horse breed forest stallion section history pembrokeshire
(Source: www.horsebreedspictures.com)

Photo by Hanna V (Wikipedia) Wild ponies have existed in Wales since at least 1600 BC, way before the Roman invasion of Britain. Over the last few centuries, Arabian, Hackney, and Thoroughbred bloodlines have influenced the breed, clearly visible in the graceful Section B Ponies.

Feral pony herds still roam the rolling hills of Wales across many reservations and are interesting subjects for wildlife photographers. In the sport horse industry, Welsh Ponies excel at show jumping, dressage, cross-country, and competitive driving.

Scientists believe they belong to one of the most ancient horse breeds still in existence, with studies currently investigating their exact origins. The exception was a small group of local farmers who regarded the horses as more of a nuisance but sometimes used them for agricultural work and cattle herding.

Besides being an integral part of the forest’s ecosystem, these ponies can also be captured and trained up to elite competition level. More recently, Shetlands, Arabians, and other modern breeds mixed with the herd living in the New Forest, but only the offspring of purebred parents can be registered in the studbook.

Today, the ponies live in semi-feral conditions and are rounded up each year to receive a health check, identification, and young stock to be selected for sale. Jessica Theodor, an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary, and her colleague Jonathan Gasser, associate professor at Georgia Southern University are disputing a recent study that creates a different family tree for the hippo.

wild ponies welsh aber falls wales dalesman ramblings hills august 2008
(Source: dalesman.wordpress.com)

The controversy began after the new fossil of Indoors, was discovered and written about by Thewissen and his group. When biologists study family trees, they traditionally rely on morphology, in other words, the shape of bones.

“In order to get the best understanding, researchers combine the two sources of data in a single analysis. Hippos spend lots of time in the water and now it turns out (or researchers argue), they are the closest living relative to whales.

Environment Secretary Michael Love has announced a new law to ban travelling circuses from using wild animals. Then plan will now be debated and voted on by MPs and Lords in the Houses of Parliament.

Rules banning the trade of ivory in the UK were passed at the end of 2018, which aim to protect wild elephants. Meanwhile, Finn's Law was passed in Parliament recently to strengthen the protection of service animals.

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