UK TRIP JULY 2017
In July 2017, I travelled to the other side of the world to visit the birth place of the Welsh Cob. The amazing thing about these ponies, is that it gives you the ability and the drive to visit people with a similar interest a huge number of kilometres away from home.
I must admit, I was feeling apprehensive; one, not really liking flying and two, having never travelled any further than Australia or Fiji from the antipodean place I call home.
Once I arrived in the UK, the fears vanished - I was looked after incredibly well, and I found it rather amusing that my accent was such that UK citizens couldn't understand some words I said! I won't mention what the Welsh accent sounded like to Kiwi ears......
I was privileged to be able to visit a number of welsh cobs studs in the short time I visited:
Floreat Stud (I saw several beautiful mares by Floreat Dandelion)
Taraco Stud (Trevallion Enzo, Taraco Firestorm)
Pennal Stud (Gwenllan Brynmor, Tireve Welsh Flyer, Pennal The Great, Pennal Brynmor)
Corscaron Stud (Corscaron Cymro Llwyd, Avonvalley Jolly Roger)
The Culhwch Celebration Day (Gwynfaes Culhwch, plus numerous progeny including Gwynfaes Seren Wledig Nantwood Solomon and Horeb Undeg - the list is too long to post on here!) At the Celebration Day, Meirion Evans even managed to get myself and Megan Howe onto Welsh television with an interview as they were filming a special program about Gwynfaes Culhwch - a never to be repeated opportunity???
One thing that was a huge surprise (which, now thinking about it, it shouldn't have been!) was how engrained this beautiful breed is in the culture of the welsh people. It was just amazing.
The Royal Welsh Show was a highlight - it was a feast for the eyes, with so many cobs - I didn't quite know where to look. And the welsh Section D stallion class - well, you have to be there to believe how emotive it is, watching the stallions do their run outs collectively around the main oval, with the crowd going wild!
I met the most wonderful, welcoming people and surprised myself that I actually managed to get to Wales and then from Wales to London on the M4 without a co-pilot, especially since it was my first time there.
Seeing these cobs in the flesh made me realise how much there is to potentially do, in regards to breeding welsh cobs in New Zealand, but I feel I have made an excellent start by choosing outstanding sires to use via frozen semen.
Seeing the stallions 'in person' was a dream come true, and I even had a ride on Pennal the Great, he felt like no other cob I have ever ridden - the energy and athleticism of this stallion is breath taking.
Finally seeing my boys sires Gwynfaes Culhwch and Trevallion Enzo in the flesh was super exciting - especially seeing even small mannerisms in them that they have passed on to their sons half a world away (Culhwch, that unmistakeable powerful, super straight, athletic movement and Enzo in particular, has passed on an all important floppy bottom lip kiss to Bouncer - Tara will understand that description ;)).
One point that absolutely stands out, is that your minds eye is so different to looking at photographs, and from a learning perspective, there is absolutely nothing like seeing these top cobs in the flesh.
Recently I viewed some earlier footage from NZ that contained the earlier cobs that were here. People spent huge amount of money and sacrified so much to get the few cobs here in the early days. They need to be congratulated for starting what we now can add to. But it hasn't escaped me how incredibly lucky we are nowadays to have the genes from the UK cobs via frozen semen available to us -I feel I have entered the NZ welsh cob breeders collective in one of the most exciting periods of breeding cobs in New Zealand.