Behind the world-famous Llanarth Stud were three pioneering women who put Welsh cobs on the map after World War II, and their legacy still endures today.
When the striking dun mare Llanarth Fair Lady topped the Brightwells’ Autumn Cob Sale at £25,500 last year, the prolific Llanarth Stud was thrown into the spotlight once again; another star to come from Len and Ann Bigley’s Herefordshire operation. Rewind more than 80 years, however, and the future of Welsh cobs looked considerably more precarious. At the time of World War II, the breeding of cobs was at an all-time low as financial strains took their toll and motorised transport replaced horsepower. But the formation of the Llanarth Stud, pioneered by three trailblazing women, was about to help change the breed’s fortunes.
“The partnership formed by Pauline Taylor, Barbara Saunders Davies and Enid Lewis at Blaenwern, which established the Llanarth Welsh cob stud, meant that things would never quite be the same again in the Welsh cob world,” wrote William Lloyd, former president of the Welsh Pony and Cob Society, in the foreword to Teleri Bevan’s 2010 book The Ladies of Blaenwern, which charts the stud’s history.