Welsh ponies are proving buoyant in the struggling native pony market, with growing international interest creating strong prices in the ring.
The Brightwells Autumn Cob Sale last month (18-20 October) showed just how popular the breed is becoming — a chestnut filly foal presented by the Fronarth Stud sold for £11,500.
The filly was not alone in bucking the trend for native breeds. During the 3-day sale 528 cobs were sold for a total of £365,720 to achieve an overall average of £692.65.
The improvement for Welsh sales comes as a welcome relief for British breeders, after prices for most native ponies plummeted during the recession. Last year, some New Forest colts were still selling for as little as £20.
Welsh aficionados believe that foreign interest is helping.
A spokesman from Brightwells said: “The awareness of the versatility of the Welsh breed has certainly spread more in recent years, no doubt helped by the internet and social media. We definitely see more interest from further afield than we used to.”
The Welsh Pony and Cob Society (WPCS) agrees.
“New markets are opening across the world for Welsh ponies and cobs and we have witnessed an unprecedented number of buyers from abroad coming,” Martin Waters of the WPCS told H&H.
“This year has seen incredible successes for the Welsh breeds across all shows and performance disciplines, and this has obviously added to their attraction for buyers looking for an animal that will take them to the top.”
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (14 November, 2013)