Animal Welfare

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 (“the Act”) requires you to ensure that any horse or pony for which you are responsible, whether on a permanent or a temporary basis:


  • Has a suitable environment to live in
  • Has a healthy diet
  • Is able to behave normally
  • Has appropriate company, and
  • Is protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

Purchasing your Pony/Cob

Before you purchase your pony/cob, you will need to ask yourself the following questions:

1. Have you considered how much you can afford to pay for the pony/cob and are you sure that you can afford to keep it?

2. Will you be able to fit the care of your pony/cob into your usual timetable and would there be someone available to look after your pony/cob in your absence due to work/illness etc.?

3. What do you wish to do with your pony/cob, e.g. ride for fun, ride competitively, drive or show in hand?

4. To keep your pony/cob you will need to own or rent a grass field of at least 2 acres, which has shelter from wind and rain in winder and the sun and flies in summer. Is it safely fenced? Is it free from poisonous plants? Does it have a water supply?

5. Where will you ride for recreation? I.e. do you have access to bridle paths or quiet lanes or permitted Heath Land?

6. If you need riding tuition, do you know where you can find professional help? I.e. approved riding schools or private events/dressage or jumping trainer.

7. If you buy a pony/cob, you must have expert help if you are not experienced.

If you are sure that you have answers to all these questions, and you have chosen the type of pony/cob that will suit your needs, then the following information will help you care for your new purchase.

NEVER buy a foal on a whim at a sale just because they are cheap unless you can answer yes to the above questions.

Finding your Pony/Cob

1. You can start by browsing through the WPCS Journal and watching classes at your local shows/events so that you get an idea of the type of pony/cob that will suit you.

2. When you go to look at a pony/cob, it is a good idea to take someone knowledgeable with you who can offer sensible advice and be a witness to what has been said. It is an excellent idea to visit studs and see the pony/cob at home.

3. Buy your pony/cob from an experienced breeder or rider. Any reputable person will enjoy helping you select your pony from their establishment. Here you should be able to see your pony/cob’s sire and dame. Temperament is essential in the pony/cob you are buying.

4. When you have selected your pony/cob ask to see its Equine Passport. If it was born in 2009 or after it must have a microchip number which is listed in the equine passport.

5. It is sensible to have your pony vetted by an Equine Veterinarian prior to purchase. Insurance companies will require this. Request the vet to also scan the pony/cob’s microchip to check that the number matches the one listed in the Equine Passport. Ponies did not need micro-chipping before 2009 but you may like to consider having it micro-chipped for security reaons.

6. You must have your Equine Passport with your pony/cob when you travel.

7. Ideally, ask your pony/cob’s owner to delivery the pony/cob for you or hire the services of an experienced Horse Transporter. If you transport your pony/cob yourself, you could consider borrowing a sensible travelling companyion for your new pony/cob.

8. When you pay for your pony, ensure that you receive the Passport, relevant Registration Papers, Flu/Tetanus Records, Height Certificate etc. from the previous owner.

9. Make sure the previous owner signs the Passport to confirm the sale of the pony/cob to yourself.  It is the purchasers responsibility to then send the Passport to the Welsh Pony and Cob Society office to record the transfer of ownership, with the appropriate fee, and this should be done immediately the pony/cob is home.

10. Seriously consider insuring your pony/cob and its take, rugs etc. from the date of purchase. There are many companies specialising in this type of insurance. Check the policies carefully to ensure the cover is appropriate.

11. If you have already acquired a pony/cob, perhaps form a sale, young and wild, you must seek expert help immediately. The WPCS Welfare Officer and staff, your local Vet, riding school or BHS area representative, all may be able to help and advise you.

12. The Society is there to help, not judge you. You may like to consider becoming a member of the Society so that you can enter medal shows and receive timely advice and information from the annual Journal and newsletters.

13. If you decide to breed from your mare, make sure she is healthy, sound and has a good temperament. Also ensure you have the time, facilities, finances and skills to do so. Approach the WPCS or the pony/cob’s breeder for advice and remember that you need to have the finance, knowledge and time to care for your foal in the future.

14. Do not think of keeping a stallion unless you are very experienced in managing them.

Caring for your Pony/Cob

You must provide a stable or field shelter for your pony/cob, for shelter in winter and in case of illness. Fresh clean water must be available at all times.

You will need to wormcontrol at regular intervals, dental care rasp teeth and trim/shoe your new purchase.

Vaccinate your pony against tetanus. Your vet will be the best person to advice you.

In order to feed your pony/cob, take note of the excellent brands of feed on the market. Take time and advice to find the feeds most suitable for your pony/cob’s needs. You will need to feed your pony/cob according to how much and what sort of work it is doing, its age and whether it is in foal etc. Any changes in its feed must be made gradually as sudden changes can cause an upset stomach.

A weight tape is very useful. It is an inexpensive way of giving you a guide to the pony/cob’s weight to work out how much wormer to give it. Also feed bags tell you how much to feed by body weight and the weight tape will prove invaluable here.

Care must be taken in the summer to prevent the pony/cob getting too fat as this can lead to Laminitis (inflammation of the feet) and could kill your pony/cob if untreated. As soon as you notice that your pony/cob might have an attack of laminitis where it might stand with its front feet pointing forward and be reluctant to move, get a vet since this is very painful and your pony/cob will need attention to relieve it of pain as soon as possible.

You must always ensure your pony/cob has fibre and roughage available. Provide good (but not rich) grazing throughout the year and additional meadow hay in winter.  After a while your skill and judgement will make sure that you are maintaining your pony/cob’s condition correctly, but do not be afraid to ask a professional, e.g. your Vet, trainer or breeder, for further advice if you are in any doubt.

In the wild, ponies have many acres to roam and can choose their grazing. They cannot do this in a small paddock and you must ensure that you can provide a change of grazing for your pony/cob so that the land can “rest”. This will make sure that there is a constant supply of fresh grazing. You must pick up droppings regularly in a small paddock.

Retirement of your Pony/Cob

During retirement you will need to give your pony/cob as much love and care as when it was in work. Hopefully you will enjoy many happy years with your pony/cob. However, when the time comes, be it due to illness or old age, you must do them the kindness of having them put to sleep humanely. Your vet will advise you. You must notify the Society of its passing.