xt7d7w67427d https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt7d7w67427d/data/mets.xml Dargan, Olive Tilford, 1869-1968. 1913  books b92-209-30909791 English Priv. print. for C.A. Stone, : Boston : This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed.  Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically.  Physical rights are retained by the owning repository.  Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. copyright laws.  For information about permissions to reproduce or publish, contact the Special Collections Research Center. Ponies. Welsh pony  : described in two letters to a friend / by Olive Tilford Dargan. text Welsh pony  : described in two letters to a friend / by Olive Tilford Dargan. 1913 2002 true xt7d7w67427d section xt7d7w67427d The Welsh Pony

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THE WELSH PONY

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THE WELSH PONY
DESCRIBED IN TWO LETTERS TO A FRIEND

BY OLIVE TILFORD DARGAN

























   BOSTON: PRINTED PRIVATELY
   FOR CHARLES A. STONE: 1913

 










COPYRIGHT, 1913, BY CHARLES A. STONE



PINKHAM PRESS, BOSTON

 

























To ANNE WHITNEY

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             ILLUSTRATIONS



HERD OF WELSH MOUNTAIN PONIES GRAZING Frontispiece

MY LORD PEMBROKE.  . .      . . . . . xii

A MORNING RIDE .   .       . .     . .   xiv

IMPORTED WELSH STALLION RAINBOW           4

SEARCHLIGHT-PONY MARE . . . . . .         6

THE FAMOUS WELSH STALLION GREYLIGHT . . .  8

A FULL BROTHER OF DAYLIGHT.  . .      .   10

LONGMYND FAVORITE AND HER FOAL MANOMET
  WHITE STAR  .  .  .  .  . .  .  .  .   12

MY LORD PEMBROKE WHEN THREE YEARS OLD    14

LONGMYND ECLIPSE ONA RAINY DAY. .         16

A WELSH COB.             .     . . .      18

MARE AND FOAL.               . . .        20

LONGMYND.     . . . . . . . . . . 22

LONGMYND COMMONS.    . . . . . . .        24

IMPORTED WELSH STALLION MY LORD PEMBROKE  26

LONGMYND ECLIPSE AND GROVE RAINBOW  .    28

LONGMYNI) CASTOR..        .      .     . 32

LONNGMYND ECLIPSE AND MY LORD PEMBROKE  .  34



vii

 





            ILLUSTRATIONS

BRECON                 .      .          36

THE BEACONS    .                         38

LONGMYND POLLOX                  .       40

FOREST LODGE PASTURES     .       .      42

MY LORD PEMBROKE         . . . .         44

KNIGHTON SENSATION, LONGMYND ECLIPSE AND
  MY LORD PEMBROKE . . . . . . .        46

KNIGHTON SENSATION . . . . . . . . 48

MY LORD PEMBROKE IN HARNESS. . . . .     50



viii

 


















INTRODUCTION

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INTRODUCTION



  While living in Devon about a year ago, I
first became acquainted with the Welsh pony
and found great pleasure in riding and driving
with my children through the charming lanes
and by-ways of Southwestern England.
  I was so fortunate as to have at that time an
attractive little gray mare which was loaned to
me by a friend who was spending the winter
in France. This little mare, partly Welsh, was
so cheerful and friendly, and seemed so much
to enjoy our excursions into the country, that
I felt sorry to leave her behind when I left
Devon.
  The following spring, at the London Horse
Show, I saw some splendid specimens of thor-
oughbred Welsh mountain ponies ridden by
children, and my wife and I were so attracted
by them that we determined to get four or five
and bring them to America. Later during the
same season, at the Royal Agricultural Show,
which is the best fair of its kind in the world,



xi

 



INTRODUCTION



I saw many splendid ponies of the Welsh breed,
and had an opportunity to find out more partic-
ularly about them.
  A trip to Wales was then planned with a view
of visiting the ponies on their native hills and
arranging with some owners and breeders to
help me select a small herd for shipment to
Boston. On this trip I found the Welsh country
so charming and the ponies so attractive and so
different from any ponies I had known before,
that I spent altogether several weeks in Wales
and the border counties selecting a herd which
finally amounted to about twenty-five of the
best of the true mountain type that I could
obtain.
  I have been pondering ever since, not only
how I might improve and add to my own some-
what superficial knowledge of the remarkable
qualities of the Welsh pony, but also how I
might bring him to the favorable notice of my
countrymen. In this endeavor I was fortunately
able to enlist the interest of my cousin, Miss
Whitney, whose friend, Mrs. Olive Tilford
Dargan, was at that time journeying through
England and Wales. Miss Whitney saw the



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INTRODUCTION



opportunity that lay before me provided -Mrs.
Dargan could be won to a study of the pony
problem, and promised to set herself at once to
the attainment of this object-- although she
did say that such a call upon her friend was
about as nearly related to that lady's real voca-
tion as a yokel's whistle to Pan's pipes. I think,
however, that the author of the following letters
has shown a true idea of the dignity inherent in
the mission to which she was summoned, and
has indeed written up to it; responding to the
request of her friend with a whole-souled hearti-
ness which makes me her grateful beneficiary.

                                   C. A. S.
  December, 1912.



xiii

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THE WELSH PONY-HIS PEDIGREE
      LETTER NUMBER ONE

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LETTER NU-MBER ONE



                     London, England, July 15, 1911
Dear A, :
  Some months ago you asked me to tell you all
that I knew or could discover about the Welsh
pony. I will tell you if you will stand the listen-
ing. For since you bade me I have taken the sub-
ject to heart and can talk on it from dawn to dusk.
We have travelled-pony and I-from Arabia
to the Lybian sands and from Scandanavia to the
midland seas, and on my recent journey through
Wales-that land, as you know, of old adventure
and anguish of endless battle--I kept but half
an eye in pursuit of the vanishing skirts of
Romance; the other eye and a half swept along
the vista in search of the mountain lady who
trips so handsomely on her four feet that Sir
Phenacodus Primaevus; could he behold her
from his fossil retreat, would acknowledge his
success as an ancestor, whatever may have
been his discouragements in prehistoric society.

 



THE WELSH PONY



  At first, aware of my weakness for the equine,
I was afraid that I had succumbed to my
charmer with regrettable haste, but association
only fixed mY loyalty and sustained the cre-
dentials that he wears on every inch of him.
Let me parenthesize here and have done with
it, that if I use my genders in hopeless inter-
change, or am forced to the apologetic "it,"
you must extricate the sex as best you can, and
re-register your old vow to reform the English
language. "She" will apply but ludicrously to
the gallant entires that were asked to exhibit
their best steps before me; and "he" does not
come naturally to my pen if I have in mind
some of the graceful mares whose acquaintance
I made as they drew me through pass and over
bryn, almost coquetting with the task laid upon
them, yet modest withal, for the Welsh pony,
be the pronoun what it may, never forgets
manners.
  Later, at the Olympia, during the Inter-
national Horse Show, I spent a fatuously
happy time in the stables. Many pony types
were exhibited, and nobly they represented their
kind, but I found none so love-inspiring as the



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HIS PEDIGREE



little conqueror from Cymric, "Shooting Star,"
owned by Sir Walter Gilbey. He is a dapple-
gray, eleven hands high, of perfect shape and
brim-full of spirit, not of the self-conscious
kind, eager for gratuitous display, but un-
abashed, careful of the amenities, and avowing
with all the grace in him that he will be your
friend if you choose to be his. If he has one
defect it is a parsimony of tail, though I heard
none of his thousands of admirers make that
criticism; and he carries it up and out in true
Arabian style. In the arena, when all of the
horses came in for the general parade-the
big Clydesdales first, followed by representatives
of nearly every breed in the world, the proces-
sion ending with a wee Shetland, whose mistress
is the little Princess Juliana of Holland-it
was Shooting Star that received the most
impulsive greeting-an applause of love evoked
by his irresistible dearness, billowing where he
passed until he completed the great circuit.
  I had the assurance of others who daily
haunted the Show that this triumph was a
feature of every general parade; and it was
then that I began to ask a certain Why  Why

                       5

 



THE WVELSH PONY



is the Welsh pony gifted with a symmetry that
subjugates at sight, while his congeners too
often show an ensemble whose mild ungainliness
must be admitted by their best of friends
Why, with the hardihood of the half-wild
forager, and unflagging endurance, does he dis-
piay the grace and bearing that we associate
with carefully tended animals of pedigree
The Exmoor and Dartmoor types only in a
moderate degree show signs of high descent,
and the ponies of the Fells (though I mind me
well of the lovable traits of some of my neigh-
bors among them up in the shires of Cumber-
land and Westmoreland) are indubitably plebian.
while the Welsh pony is a patrician on his wildest
hill. Even those who hold a brief for other
breeds confess his superiority in points that
stamp him "of the blood." Parkinson pro-
claims him the perfect pony of the kingdom,
and Lord Lucas, who for some years has been
engaged in improving the New Forest pony,
says, after an excursion in search of desirable
strains to introduce into the Forest, that he
found the best ponies in Wales; and he has
confirmed his judgment by the purchase of



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HIS PEDIGREE



"Daylight," a young Carmarthenshire pony of
prepotent promise, for alliance with the Forest
stock.
  The breeder of Daylight seems particularly
able in adding "lights" to a constellation whose
first impulse to shine came from Dyoll Starlight,
a sire who cannot be accused of any desire to hide
his light under a bushel. It gleams not merely
from one hill, but a hundred, and the breeder
so happy as to own a bit of this strain rarely
fails to advertise his good fortune in the name
he gives to his prize. The result is a confusion
of Starlights, Greylights - even Skylights!-
in repeated series distinguished as Starlight II,
III, etc., until the dazzled investigator prays
for an eclipse. I take it, however, as a hopeful
sign that one of the latest comers to the circle
is yclept Radium. But to know these ponies
makes one lenient to the pride that clings to
the family name. I send you a photograph of
Searchlight, a daughter of Dyoll Starlight, and
granddaughter of Merlyn Myddfai, who was
sold into Australia. She is a sister to Daylight,
bought by Lord Lucas, and also to Sunlight, a
three-year old pony mare, undoubtedly with a



7

 



THE WELSH PONY



scintillating future, who will be exhibited for the
first time at Swansea during the National Pony
Show, whither I intend to go just to have sight
of some of the exquisite young things that are
springing up all over Wales since the recent
awakening of Taffy the Thrifty to the fact that
the pony is one of the most profitable assets of
his country. The photograph of Searchlight is
somewhat unfair to her beauty. The slight
turn of the head coarsens the nose and widens
the lower jaw with an unpatrician suggestion of
which there is no hint when she is before you
in vivid substance. Her brother, Greylight,
poses more successfully, but I send you Search-
light also, partly because she is a lady, and
of a more retired life, but mainly because she
illustrates, so far as may be in a photograph,
that indefinable thing called "pony character,"
which you will find me dilating on later.
Just now I want to get back to my Why.
  What in the history of the Welsh pony will
explain this union of hardy wilderness qualities
with a form as perfect as that produced in
Arabia after two thousand years of jealous
breeding I asked the question of dealers and


 

















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HIS PEDIGREE



breeders and oldest inhabitants. I went to the
hills to ask it of the pony himself; and to the
British Museum to ask it of relics and tomes;
following my "Why" to Arabia, to Libya, and
back to the "elephant bed" of the Brighton
Pleistocene, where I stopped; for there, it
seemed to me, the Welsh pony began, so far as
research permits him to have a beginning. To
follow him beyond neolithic man into the
paleozoic ages, when he was merely an old
father Hipparion puzzling as to whether he
should remain in his bog and unenterprisingly
evolve into a tapir, or go into deeper and wetter
regions and be a spiritless rhino, or step bravely
onto dry land, turn his five flabby toes into a
fleet and solid hoof, and become the noble
equus caballus,-to pursue him thus far would
keep me wandering in a region of timorous
conjecture where he was neither Welsh nor a
pony. So I begin with the Brighton deposit,
where was found the skeleton of a small horse
supposed, without successful contradiction, to
be an ancestor of a species which Professor James
Cossar Ewart has named the Pony Celticus,
and which once overspread Western Europe.

                      9

 



THE WELSH PONY



The tribe was gradually driven to the wall,
meaning in this case the sea, and their descend-
ants, certainly considerably modified, are even
now to be found in the outer Hebrides and the
Faroes. They lingered long in North Wales,
that little nest of undisturbed peaks, and it was
with the descendants of this species that the
Rornans mated their military animals and pro-
duced the packhorse so necessary in rugged
West Britain. This packhorse was not the
heavy creature that his name suggests, but a
sure-footed, light-bodied animal, capable, how-
ever burdened, of going nimbly up and down
the hills. In East Britain and the midlands
there was no incentive to breed him, as the
numerous heavier types sprung from the Forest
horse were more serviceable there. But in
Wales at this time we have the first authentic
infiltration of alien blood, and this blood was
undoubtedly of the Orient. The Romans, we
know, were patrons of the East in matters
equestrian, and in their files of leadership there
could have been
                              "no lack
         Of a proud rider on so proud a back"



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HIS PEDIGREE



as that of the Arabian courser. But of more
importance than such occasionally distinguished
pedigrees was the fact that their army horses
in general were Gallic; and the Gallic horse was
of Eastern origin. So the Romans left to Wales
not only a heritage of legendary stone, such as
the old camp, Y Caer Bannau, which is shown
you in Breconshire, but a far more valued
legacy- which is yet animate in the veins of the
Welsh pony. The invaders were busy in Wales
for four hundred years, during which time the
packhorse became a domestic type, and gradu-
ally the acclimated Arabian blood crept up the
hills and among the wildest herds - a slow in-
fusion that left the pony still a pony, retaining
all the hardihood that made life possible on the
scanty-herbaged peaks.
  The ponies of the southern moors, no doubt,
were also marked by this early cross; and they,
too, still held at the time something of their
heritage from the Pony Celticus; but their
position had left them liable to mixture with
the Forest Horse, or what represented him in
the low-countries, and it was by just that
mixture that the packhorse of Wessex, which



11

 



THE WELSH PONY



was the "gentleman's horse" in Devon down to
two hundred years ago, became different from
that of Wales. It is very unlikely that the
Forest Horse was ever in the Cambrian hills,
and the active little Pony Celticus on his remote
slopes escaped any alliance with that phlegmatic
blood. For this reason, in the Welsh descend-
ants of the species, the Eastern horse found a
comparatively unmixed strain which was prob-
ably as old as his own. The frequent absence
of ergots and callossities (those vestigial signs,
near knee and fetlock, of vanished digits)
would indicate in the Pony Celticus a develop-
ment as ancient at least as that of the Libyan
ancestors of the Arabian    horse. Professor
Ridgeway, of Cambridge University, thinks that
he may even be a related northern branch of
the horse of Libya, and that both the North
African species and the Pony Celticus may
claim the bones of the small horse found in the
Brighton Pleistocene as ancestral. If this be
true, then when Roman met Welsh in equine
society, the two oldest breeds of the world were
united, and, as you know, the older the breed
the more ineradicable are its characteristics.



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HIS PEDIGREE



If originally congeneric, that too would be in
favor of the type produced by such a union, and
may be a key to the persistence and potency of
the Welsh mountain stock. In the Pony Celti-
cus, wherever his modified posterity is least
changed, the dorsal and lateral marks indicating
equatorial origin are reproduced with little
difficulty.
  And we have another reason for suspecting
the pony ancestor of our Welsh variety to be of
North African kinship rather than allied to the
Asiatic horse, with large ergots and heavy
callossities, which came by the northern route
into Scandinavia. This horse, by tradition and
record, was of an intractable disposition. It
was in upper Asia that the bit originated, while
the Libyan horse was of so gentle a nature that
his descendant is yet ridden on the Arabian
plains with no more guidance than can be given
by a simple noseband. Of this horse Mohammed
could say, "God made him of a condensation of
the southwest wind"; the consummate simile for
fleetness and mildness. But I don't accuse the
Asiatic horse of being the first sinner. Though
the callossities are against his being as old as



13

 



THE WELSH PONY



the Libyan, he may have originally possessed
as gentle a temper, which became lost through
association with brutal races (see Herodotus)
who insisted on being masters instead of friends.
The horse resents mastery, as you know, and re-
sentment is peculiarly poisonous to his character.
Make him a comrade or nothing. His ascent may
have been more dignified than our own, and in
one way at least he prehistorically showed more
gentle intentions; 'twas we who kept the claws!
But while I leave the question of responsibility
open in the case of the Asiatic horse, I am glad
to think that our pony did not come by way of
his blood, whether corrupted by man or tainted
with original sin. Certain it is that the Pony
Celticus possessed a docility and fair-mindedness
that indicated a blameless descent, and there
is no evidence that his Welsh offspring were
ever handled by man in a way to warp his
character.  It is true that in his wild state,
after the sheep-dog was introduced into Wales
(which was comparatively late), the pony was
much harried, and driven to the more barren
regions; but whenever brought down to the
farms he was at once admitted to family



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HIS PEDIGREE



privileges that gave him confidence in human-
ity. As early as the days of the good king,
Howell Dha, laws for his care and      pro-
tection were recorded, and   these seem  to
have been but a codification of rules that had
long been in general practice. We read that
if a man borrowed a horse and fretted the hair
on his back he was to pay a fine to the owner;
but such a law as we find among the ancient
statutes of Ireland, "Quhasoever sall be tryet
or fund to stow or cut ane uther man's hors
tail sail be pwunschit as a thief," seems to have
had no call for existence In Welshland.
  I have said that there was no danger of
invasion by the larger British horse on the
eastern side. His big feet would not have been
at home on the rocky Welsh passes. On the
fen side of England the horses developed a
softness of hoof and sponginess of bone whose
gradual alteration in later days to a close,
dense texture, was one of the difficulties that
had to be overcome in the production of
the English thoroughbred; but, fortunately,
the mountain pony was never troubled by
such an inheritance.  On the channel side



15

 



THE WELSH PONY



of Wales there was a smaller breed of attrac-
tive neighbors, and the question of invasion
was different.  Just a short space across the
water lay a nation of kindred Celts, and
that they exchanged horses as well as wives
with their Welsh cousins -not always by con-
sent -literature gives us sufficient proof. And
the horses of Ireland, happily bred on a soil of
limestone formation, developed such compact-
ness, strength, and fineness of bone, that when
their hard, clean, flat legs brought them into
Welsh camps and pastures they were always
welcome to the unseen genius attendant on the
mountain pony. The once noted Irish hobbie
was often brought into Wales and left his mark
there.
  The records left by the admirers of this
animal are pleasant reading. Says old Blunde-
vill: "These are tender-mouthed, nimble, light,
pleasant, apt to be taught, and for the most
part they be amblers and therefore verie meete
for the saddle and to travel by the way." And
this desirable creature was produced by a union
of the Spanish-Arabian horse with the Irish
pony, the descendant of the yet prevailing



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HIS PEDIGREE



Celticus; for the Irish isle, as the Welsh hills,
was one of his last strongholds. But long
before the introduction of Spanish stallions into
Ireland, this pony had become modified by the
Gallic breed - the same Eastern strain that the
Romans brought into Wales. In the three
horse skulls with finely preserved Arabian fea-
tures, recently discovered in a peat-buried
crannog, Professor Ridgeway finds proof that
the Eastern horse was in Ireland possibly as
early as the sixth century; and the description
of the horses in the oldest Irish saga support
the claim that the warhorse and charger of the
Irishman in his epic days were of Eastern im-
portation. Breton was an open way of the
Gallic horse to Ireland, for there was much
compliment, combat, and barter, between the
Irish and Breton Celts. And the horse of
Breton was particularly suitable for union with
Irish stock, the Arabian in him being already
modified by a hardy breed of the hills. Now
let me get back to Wales, taking with me this
augmentation of the Arabian strain, pony-
diluted, through the Irish port - another in-
fusion most happily chosen by the beneficence



17

 



THE WELSH PONY



that seems to have guided the Welsh pony in
his evolution. iNot too much of this visiting
blood either; for there were always wild herds
that kept much to themselves; "companys of
beesties" content to come only occasionally to
the valleys, when they would lure away some
gallant or coquette of the lowlands, glad to
sniff the air of a fuller freedom. It was the
slowness of these infusions, filtering through
centuries, and always the same inexpungeable
strain, that has made the cross so lastingly
successful.
  Now to rush down to the modern period. As
population grew, the making of roads, reclama-
tion of slopes, and increase in local valley traffic,
made the larger horse more attractive to the
eyes of the Welshman; and some praiseworthy
types, notably the Cob, were produced by the
introduction of well-bred English sires. But
there were unwelcome by-products in the
process, and the importations from the Shires
were often ill-judged and indiscreet. The light,
graceful-bodied carthorse, of miraculous en-
durance, the descendant of the early packhorse,
and very different from the clumsy, sluggish



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HIS PEDIGREE



carthorse of the Shires, has suffered deterioration
in beauty, bone and spirit. As a sage of Rad-
norshire puts it, there is a touch too little of
the Arab and a touch too much of Flanders.
And as I cannot claim that all the good blood
brought into Wales made its way to the pony
on the hills, while all the bad blood staid below,
I must admit that he has been affected by these
later introductions; but in far less degree, for
time has not been left to have its final way, nor
is the coarser strain of Eastern potency. We
must also remember that two centuries ago,
when these adventures in breeding began, the
English had commenced those prudent experi-
mnents with the Arab cross which has fixed the
thoroughbred in his sovereign place. There
had been occasional importations of the Arab
ever since the Roman days, but the English
horses were of such numerous and diffused types,
and so unlike the Eastern horse in build and
nature, that such spasmodic introductions had
no permanent effect. The great improvement
came with the determined enthusiasm and pa-
tience of the eighteenth century breeders; and
it seems providential again that as the ways



19

 



THE WELSH PONY



of breeding between England and Wales became
promiscuously open, the Eastern blood was
becoming prevalent in England.
  From this source the Welsh breeders began
renewing the beneficent strain in the slow, best
manner. Merlin, a descendant of the Brierly
Turk, after his brilliant years on the turf, was
brought to Wales and turned out with the
ponies on the Ruabon hills to become the founder
of a famous and prolific line. Mr. Richard
Crashaw secured for his county the Arab sire
of Cymro Llwd; and in Merioneithshire, the
half-Arab, Apricot, of multiple progeny, became
an imperishable tradition. Seventy or eighty
years ago, Mr. Morgan Williams put Arab sires
with his droves on the hills behind Aberpergwm;
and it was in this region that in recent years
Moonlight was discovered, roving and unshod,
by Mr. Meuric Lloyd, and this dam of certain
Arabian descent gave Wales her Dyoll Star-
light, to whose paternity I have referred.
  Notwithstanding this reinforcement of his
aristocracy, there were too many doors left
carelessly open. The larger pony of the lower
lands was becoming mixed with the Cardingan-



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HIS PEDIGREE



shire cob; and some owners were guilty of letting
half-bred Shire colts have the run of the hills.
In time the only safe place for the mountain
pony would have been the topmost crests, but
for an event of happy effect upon his destiny.
This was the organization of the Welsh-Pony-
and Cob-Society in the Royal Show Yard at
Cardiff one springtime eleven years ago. Lord
Tredegar was the first president, and after him
the Earl of Powys. King George became a
patron, and the society acquired an impetus
that proved it had not been born too soon. Not
only are all the Shires of Wales represented in
its council, but also the border counties of
Monmouth, Shropshire and Hereford. The
formation of a Stud Book was the initial practi-
cal business of the Society, and its first volumes
derive special value from the fact that Wales
has always tended to the patriarchial system,
and her traditions, whether of horses or families,
can be relied upon. There have always been
wise and prudent breeders in the land; men
who could, in some degree, counteract indiffer-
ence and hold to ideal aim.
  The Society went to its work with "ears laid



21

 



THE WELSH PONY



back"; but I will mention only two of its
achievements. One of these, which will affect
the pony's future, so long as ponies be, was an
Act of Parliament that enables breeders to clear
the Commons of all stallions which a competent
committee decides are undesirable. The Com-
mon Lands of Wales are so extensive, and com-
prise so many tracts, that improvement by
selection other than nature's is a farce so long
as the pasturage is free to any and all. Nature
long ago accomplished her best for the Welsh
pony, and while he was practically an isolated
type it was easy to maintain her standard. But
with multifarious breeds and half-breeds in
proximity, the carelessness of man was begin-
ning to undo her work, and Wales might have
followed Ireland in the deterioration of her
pony stock and the loss of a fixed type, if the
Society had not actively intervened.   The
struggle over the Act was discouragingly pro-
longed, for Taffy is sometimes stubborn, and he
could not see that the right to use the Commons
would still be a right if it were limited by con-
sideration for one's neighbors. His beast might
be as poor a thing as he pleased-sickle-hocked,



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HIS PEDIGREE



goose-rumped, tucked up in the brisket, as some
of the larger valley-bred ponies were, and, alas,
are -but if it could successfully beguile the
feminine portion of his neighbor's carefully sorted
drove, the helpless neighbor, injured in heart and
pocket, had no redress. Finally, after many dif-
ficulties, unwearying effort, and a constant dis-
play of good nature, the committee secured the
passage of the Act and put an end to what one
of the overworked members, exasperated to hu-
mor, termed the "unlimited liability sire system."
  I have mentioned two sections where this
system had been brought to a close some years
before the passage of the Act. One of these is
the Longmynd Range, lying back of Church
Stretton, in Shropshire. Though beyond the
March, it is practially Welsh in all that concerns
its pony interests. The Range covers about
seventy square miles, and at the top is a plateau,
two thousand feet high, which was a stronghold
of the pony before England began to write her
history. Deep gullies cut the slopes and widen
into ravines, then into valleys. There are crags
to climb, and boggy dongas to be avoided. The
heather in places is girth-deep, and altogether



23

 



THE WELSH PONY



it is a typical breeding spot of the wild mountain
pony. Here we understand how he came by
his agility and hardiness, and realize how per-
sistent must be the qualities bred into him by
centuries of such environment. In this region
it has been the custom for the last twenty-five
years to have an annual drive and round-up,
when all the ponies are brought down, selected,
sorted, the undesirables cast out, and the others,
excepting those picked for market, or exchanged
for ponies of another run, sent back to freedom.
The ponies are not eager to leave their heights,
and they give the riders that bring them down
an anxious as wvell as exhilarating time. The
"drives" take place in September, and I hope
to be at the next one, but whether for the sake
of poetry or ponies I don't yet know. I am
beginning to believe that they are not unrelat-
able.
  Th