In a recent survey, we asked our readers to tell us what you thought were the top 5 most popular native British horse and pony breeds and finally, we are pleased to share the results with you!
Fifth place goes to …….the Shire.
We love this fabulous traditional workhorse for its willingness to serve and it’s gentle giant size and temperament. Whether it’s pulling a plough, a brewer’s dray or a canal barge or used for forestry this breed is so entrenched in the culture of yesteryear its even depicted in Old Master oil paintings. The huge, powerful Shire stands at anything from 16.2 to over 18hh. Sadly the breed is under threat and since 1878, the Shire Horse Society has been working to protect the breed, that was then known as the Old English Breed of Cart Horse.
In fourth place…..is the New Forest
Around 3,000 of these gentle ponies can be seen freely wandering their home turf of the New Forest in the South of England. Recognised as a mountain and moorland pony breeds of the British Isles these gentle and calm ponies vary in height from around 12 to 14.2 hands. They can be any colour except piebald, skewbald, spotted or blue-eyed cream. The most common colours are bay and chestnut.
In third place is…the connemara
Originating in Ireland, the Connemara was first used by local farmers to haul huge creels or baskets of rock from the fields and seaweed from the shore to be used as fertilizer. Today they are loved for their athleticism and gentle nature. They make fabulous show ponies and being hardy and strong, they are often seen in the hunting field as well as being used for riding and pony club activities. Fabulous all-rounders, the Connie gets a well deserved 3rd place!
In second place….the Welshie!
If you haven’t been lucky enough to own one of these fabulous ponies, then you will surely know someone who has as the are possibly the most versatile, well-known and well-loved of all our native British horse and pony breeds. Incredibly popular as children’s ponies they can turn their hooves to anything from showing to showjumping, trekking to driving with the smallest Welsh Mountain Pony (Section A) making great lead rein and first ponies; the slightly taller but refined Welsh Pony of riding type (Section B) popular as a children’s show mount; the small but stocky Welsh Pony of Cob Type (Section C), popular for riding and competitive driving; and the tallest, the Welsh Cob(Section D), which can be ridden by adults. Welsh ponies and cobs in all sections are known for their good temperament, hardiness, and free-moving action.
And, the winner of the most popular native British horse and pony breeds is … the Shetland!
Who can resist the cheeky character of these pint-size ponies? From 7.0-10.2hh in height these hardy and super-strong Scottish ponies hold a special place in our hearts for their role in the Industrial Revolution as pit ponies. Today their lot is a much happier one as children’s ponies or used for driving. Well deserved winners!