There are four different categories or types of Welsh Ponies. These categories are based on both slight conformation differences as well as size differences. The cob type is perhaps the best known of all the Welsh Pony types outside of the United Kingdom but the other types are increasingly more popular.
The following are the general differences between the variations in the Welsh Pony types:
Welsh Mountain Pony
This is the smallest of the Welsh Pony types and must be under 12 hands. The Welsh Mountain Pony is the original of all the Welsh Pony types and lived in semi-feral to completely wild states in the mountains where it was developed from the original Celtic pony that dates back over 10,000 years. Julius Caesar then introduced an Arabian stud into the wild pony herd, resulting in the Welsh Mountain Pony. Most Welsh Mountain Ponies are gray or gray dapple, but all other solid colors are possible. These ponies have a relatively small, refined head with a large and intelligent eye. The tails are high set and the body is relatively short. Conformation is typically excellent in the Welsh Mountain Pony.
The Welsh Pony is very similar to the Welsh Mountain Pony although it is slightly larger in frame. The Welsh Pony may not exceed 13 hands, but is considered to be a strong and agile pony. The history of the Welsh Pony is that it was used more for working with livestock and riding, so it is somewhat larger and more robust than the smaller Welsh Mountain Pony. Like the smaller Mountain Pony the Welsh Pony tends to be mostly gray but again any solid colors can be present. The Welsh Pony of any type cannot be pinto or Appaloosa in coat pattern, but roans are occasionally seen.
Welsh Pony of Cob Type
The Welsh Pony of Cob type moves towards a taller and heavier muscled pony. The Welsh Pony of Cob type can measure up to 13.2 hands and is more bulky through the legs and body, although not overly muscled. The lower legs will have a moderate amount of medium length feathering that should be silky in texture. The Welsh Pony of Cob type should be active and athletic and should not appear of slight or thin build. As can be determined from the build of this type of Welsh Pony they were originally used for farm work and carting, although they also doubled as riding ponies, even for larger adults. The Hackney has been used in the history of the cob type so there is a noticeable Hackney movement to the legs when the pony is in action.
By far the best known of the Welsh Pony types is the cob; it is a superbly athletic pony that can be used for riding and driving. These ponies have a ground covering trot and were used as light horses for the British military. Far from a pony, the Welsh Cob is a substantial mount for any adult. They can measure any height at the withers but must be over 13.2 hands as a minimum height and must have the strong, arched neck and well muscled body of any cob type horse. The Welsh Cob has a significant amount of feathering on the legs and a long, thick and luxurious mane and tail found in all the Welsh Pony types. They may be any solid true color. They bear a strong resemblance to a very refined draft horse.
These Welsh Cobs can be used in any type of competition and even where strength and intelligence need to combine. They make excellent driving and harness horses as well as competition type horses.