18 Aug 2023

John Davies – Rhoson

The Society sadly announces the passing of John Davies, of the Rhoson Stud at the age of 88.

John joined the Society in 1971, though his interest in the breed was stirred initially when he was a young boy, when his grandfather gifted him a Cob filly foal but sadly he passed away later that summer and the farm was sold. However another family member, Dafydd Edwardes of Tanffynnon was also a strong inspiration and provided a link to the Welsh breeds.

Born in Aberaeron, John followed a sports career as a talented professional footballer playing for the likes of Cardiff, and Leyton Orient and British Universities.

A degree in geology was soon followed by another in agriculture and a career in teaching which saw him move from St. Davids to the village of Blaenffos in North Pembrokeshire and a property with some land. This allowed him the luxury to rekindle his pony interest. His first design was on the Section C’s inspired by the Synod ponies but this was soon upstaged by a visit with his wife Glenys, and their friend and past teacher Gwynfil Rees, (Gwelfro) to the Downland Stud. This in turn started a friendship with Mrs. Kathleen Cuff and Phoebe Sandford which would last for over fifty years. At Downland he found what he was looking for in a Section B; not only were they quality Welsh ponies, they also had wonderful temperaments, which meant so much to John and Glenys, now with a young family of their own. So inspired by the ponies at Downland was he, that they purchased some 39 individuals over the years!

When he judged the Welsh Section B’s at the Royal Welsh Show in 1995 it was fitting that his choice as champion, Mrs Johns–Powells’ two year old filly Cottrell Aurora, was a granddaughter of Downland Mohawk, son of Romance and carried three crosses of the revered Chevalier.

Establishing the Rhoson stud in 1971 John and Glenys went on to breed some six Royal Welsh winners, and the ultimate achievement for all breeders; the Supreme Champion of all equines at the Royal Welsh Show 2004, in Rhoson Shem. He also bred a world record price holder at auction, Rhoson Carmen, and the WPCS sire ratings winner Rhoson Adonis. Shem achieved so much under saddle winning the National title twice, Best of Breed at Olympia, The Royal International and Joint first at HOYS. He also qualified twice for the Cuddy final. He epitomises all that John wanted in a pony, conformation, quality, great movement and the kindness to be a child’s pony. Late in John’s life from the challenges of dementia the mention of Shem would always kindle interest and a broad smile.

Rhoson ponies were exported the world over, which led to many international friendships. Rhoson Gaugin at 33 years of age is still going strong in Australia at Judaroo. It also gave him great pleasure when Rhoson Kizzie was Champion at the International show in the Netherlands. Pushkin, Pasiant and Pingu all took the blood to North America.

John served as a Panel judge – judging both at home and abroad, and as a trustee on the Society Council. He was awarded an honorary life membership in 2015 for his services to the Section B.

A gentle, sporting man with the ability to inspire the younger generation, his career in teaching saw him influence so many rural pupils. He derived great pleasure from the ponies. Show ring winnings were valued but not as important as being in their company at Rhoson.

The Society extends its deepest sympathy to Glenys, his three sons and their families.

The funeral is strictly private but donations may be made in his memory to Wales Air Ambulance via D L Davies, Bethel Chapel, Church Lane, Newcastle Emlyn SA38 9AB. Tel: 01239 710495

John showing WM96186 Rhoson Tlws  photo credit: Mike Bracegirdle.

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