Casmaran Welsh Cobs and Cross Creek Welsh Ponies


Welsh Pony & Welsh Cob

Educational Information



Casmaran Welsh Cobs and Cross Creek Welsh Ponies


Denise Loeffel 973-670-1785 or



My stallion just has a sunken space where his eye was removed, about the size of a large walnut. My vet said it is considered an unsoundness. Would be interested to hear what other people think. - Julie
To me, what an animal was not BORN WITH is of no consequence to me, as long as they can perform what is ask of them.  There are plenty of Tbred race horses will one eye doing very well.  And on some the blinders are only half cups so those have very limited vision anyway.

However, the book does say SERVICEABLY SOUND, and with no farther interpretation.  I do think an animal with one eye can be 'serviceably sound'.  One of the very top pony hunters I knew as a young woman helping out at Lisa Russell's in San Antonio was Jeb Stewart, a one eyed mixed breed pony, and he was a fabulous jumper, no problems.  He did turn his head a tad to see the fences.  In driving I see no problems with a one eyed pony.  Only where you might question is the Breed Standard says-----EYES BOLD, however if the one is, surely the other was.

In the ring, I have judged a good many ponies clearly with eye problems, either large dark/light areas or problems such as to render that eye useless.  I do not remember knocking any of them down at all for just the eye.

 I am more or less a maverick if you will, my Supreme Champion at the Western National in 1988 being a mare with one split eye and a huge and hairless scar running from inside the gaskin all the way down the leg.  One year at the Louisiana State Fair Wayland Carlisle showed an old broodmare who had a lot of scars and lumps etc. and I made her Supreme Champion.  After the show someone asked me why I had done such a thing as there were many there 'prettier' than she.  My answer was--------She was the BEST one.

 A judge can even take off for such of they wish, and the blemished one can still win if they are that much better than the others. 

Nowhere in the Breed Standard does it say one word about Welsh having a dished head, NO WHERE.  That is why I have to laugh at folk bemoaning a 'straight' head on a Welsh Pony.  It is perfectly alright and in accordance with the Standard for the breed.  The more Arabian characteristics come with a lot of flaws, form head to toe, and original Celtic ponies certainly did not have dished heads.

I would show the one eyed one, and if placed low I would ask the judge why.  And if the judge replies the eye, tell her to have this read straight out of the rules book-----------


Here is a mare I'd like your opinion on. She is a lovely mare and I like her depth of body. Looks to me like she would take up a lot of leg when riding. Nice butt. I dont mind the head as much, its pretty enough and that can be 'fixed' without much fuss if need be. I will have to ask Mom again about her opinion of necks and how she feels about them fitting the horse. This would be a good example to discuss...MOM??? No one thinks (like Fairytale) this mare is a TAD long in the back? My thoughts on that... as a broodmare I will forgive it, a colt I will not.   -  Sara

Sara her back is VERY VERY short, look where the wither is, WAAAAAY back and her croup is long, so you have the laid down shoulder pushing the back backward, and the long croup pushing the back forward, and what is left is barley enough for a saddle, a small saddle, the way they are SUPPOSED to be.-     Cherry
Look at how long the top of her neck is compared to the underline of her neck.  I don’t think you can get that kind of a neck with a long back. Yes, her head seems large for today’s standards, but I bet she has room for a brain and teeth and air. It’s hard to judge her leg/back proportions from a moving photo, but if her legs can go like that, her parts must be in pretty much the right places. So, now we need to know….what’s her breeding?   -  Margaret
love this conformation evaluating that you guys often do. I have noticed that a whole lot of really good Dressage horses, have a larger head then one would like, and it often goes along with a rather thin neck too. I wonder if it is because the larger head means jawbones farther apart, and more able to fit that thinner neck in between those jawbones without cutting off the air supply, for proper, or easier carriage. Then too, in my own personal mounts of which there have been many, those larger heads also have a larger nose and mouth, the plus there being larger nostrils that stretch open farther, for better air intake, and I have found many larger mouths which automatically come on those larger heads, can often carry and bit better and quieter. Some of my most favorite performers, mine and other people's, have had that larger head and thinner neck configuration, and they were exceptionally good in the endurance and stamina department and also interesting enough, better in the temperature extreme that we have down here in FL in the summer, they work better here in the heat and humidity without giving out. These were not what would be classically thought of as "halter horses", either.   -  Lynda
I think you are right on on some, good girl.  I do not think she is 'built' too heavy, just too many groceries.  YES, her legs are too short, good girl, and her head is too long, but her back is very, very short.  All of you need to take a good hard look at WHERE her back starts, just behind the wither, and where it ends, where the croup starts.  She has a VERY laid down and long shoulder and a long croup, thus a short back, so short in fact she could only carry a small saddle.  When you first look at the picture you might think long, but you must fine the two points of the back, the beginning and the end, different story.-     Cherry
Possibly so in horses. But the Welsh, as far as I know, never had large heads just wider which did as you stated .... larger air passage, and LARGE open, nostrils for the same. I do notice however many B's being bred with longer thinner necks, no musculature, lower carriage or very high carriage, kind of looks ungainly. Wonder where that comes from.  -  Denise
Oh come on Denise, you know the where it comes from, ha, and it ain't 'WELSH'.-     Cherry
Yes, you're right ........ we all know where that comes from, but sometimes it's best to let individuals come to their own conclusion. -  Denise
YES to the foreign blood.  Most of the old hill type ponies did not have Arabian style heads, most no dishing at all totally straight, but the heads were dry and on the smallish side, certainly not long and narrow.  The B is another story, and ALL B ponies have blood other than A, most other than C, or D, with the exception of Criban Victor.  Would we rather have B ponies founded on Arabian, Barb, Tbred, or Cob blood?  To me always been a no brainer.

Just a note, most of my old imported A mares and FS mares, most of you might not have had at all.  They were for the most part, straight headed, short crouped, fairly long, and some were rather roman nosed, they however did not produce the same.  These had a hard life and a lot of what a pony looks like can be chalked up to its ENVIRONS rather than it's blood.  Some of these old mares did not know how to eat feed and had never in all their life had it, most were totally untrained and had never been cared for in any sort of way.  They had been born out on the hill, rounded up at some point in their life, stuck in a crate on a ship and hauled over here, most during the pony boom of the 1950's.  So I forgave them a lot of stuff and just bought them on PEDIGREES, never had any disappointments.-     Cherry

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I have not exactly kept up with everything, but the judging system in most all breeds in this country needs a drastic overhaul. In our breed, as in many others, judges are free to do as they please, and pretty much answer to no one. When I worked for the AMHA, you had to keep your 'rating' above a certain number or you were called out, and after that first level, if you did not improve, could lose your license. I am not opposed to such. The exhibitors evaluation was mandatory, turned in before you could get your grounds passes to leave the show grounds. However, the management also were responsible for filling out and turning in a report on the judges performance. If you have only disgruntled exhibitors filling out reports, or the owners of Champions, and the run of the mill are left out, you do not receive a fair picture of the judging. If ALL exhibitors and the show management are required to fill out detailed forms, the picture is less cloudy. I have not worked for the AMHA in some years, so have no idea of what they do now.

JUDGING IS NOT AND NEVER SHOULD BE ---PREFERENCE, PERIOD! Any judge who places animals on their own personal preference, should be hung!  In some of the European countries judges, judge training, and judge scoring is very different than here.  I am 100% against the whole sale handing out of judges cards to all who wish to have them, and I have harped and preached this tune for years, to no avail.  Not everyone has the knowledge to be a judge.  Not all knowledgeable people have the disposition to be a judge.  Not all knowledgeable and kind people have the stamina to be a judge.  Not all knowledgeable- kind-strong people have the thick skin required to be a good judge.  IT IS NOT AN EASY JOB.  And I think way less are suited to it than are carrying cards. -     Cherry

Any time a judge cannot give a good reason for placing an animal up or down, I am suspicious. I expect a judge should keep good records on their judging card, it is part of their job. If they don't want to do so, then don't judge... exhibitors don't want a personal opinion they want an opinion based on standards and rules.  -  Denise
When you judge classes where they come in one at a time and are scored by segmented points, often perfect score equaling 100, the results can even surprise the judge, especially if the class is large.  In jumper, western riding, liberty, trail, etc., if you are scoring 20 or more entries, not possible to connect numbers with actual entries.  You must have a good and workable system, and be fast at math, as they come one at a time with no time in between. 
That is why the scoring system for the Conservancy is so good, taking the COLLECTIVE POINTS for placement, and not the ' overall look', which has NO place in conformation judging, period.   IF---ponies at shows were scored the same, 10 for 10 equaling 100, with 80 to pass, WOW would the Champions be different!  And IF---the judges were fair and knowledgeable, those; couch backs, fine bones, no hips, straight back legs, pencil necks on straight shoulders, narrow fronts, unbalanced movers, etc. would not place high at all, because the LOOK would not matter, the scoring would be numerical and COLLECTIVE.

When judges look at 'flash and dash' instead of true conformation, when personal preference is the yard stick by which entries are judged instead of the breed standard, when 'presentation' wins over the rules, when an overall 'look'  pins over the collective points, when judges go for the 'popular' instead of the 'bare bones' approach, and when pony mills believe their own hype, any breed is doomed.  The imports have not interested me since the late 50's/early 60's, and you can see the same trends mentioned above, in many countries across the globe, as far as Welsh are concerned. -     Cherry

I consider myself so fortunate to remember when-----I went to shows to learn something.  When the judging was honest and good.

 Many of us drug ponies out of pastures and they were lucky to have a bath, much less much else.  Most of the ponies were clean and the handlers looked nice, but there sure was NOT any; pulling of hair, little clipping, professional handlers, etc.  Folks and their kids just did the best they could, lending and borrowing from each other, having a great time, and everyone had FUN,  the shows and showing was FUN.  It was exciting to win, but more exciting was the chance to meet and speak with some of the real greats of the Welsh world like; Mollie Butler, Mrs. Dupont, Mrs. Romaine, Nancy Benitz, Mrs. Frost, etc.  Those judges sure knew ponies, went out of their way to help exhibitors and little kids, exhibited great patience and kindness, worked tirelessly in long classes, put up with all our novice behavior, and were always willing to 'talk ponies' afterwards.  Sooooo different today.  It was a great education, and I feel so privileged to have ----been there.-     Cherry

A couple of judges I ran into knew NOTHING about Welsh. They admitted it. In fact one of them had to ask me what the sections were!!!!! I've spoken to this person in other situations (once was volunteering at a CDE) and this person was still basically CLUELESS about Welsh. But still this person gets to judge.  I too have wondered how that can be possible!  -  Jodi
 never said or meant to imply that juding is easy; but to judge correctly you have to know your subject inside and out which begins by knowing the breed standard. You also, imo, have to know how that standard fits with purpose in order to prioritize flaws. A judge must be impartial always keeping in mind that their decision though based on the day may have far reaching implications. I feel that the toughest part of judging is always being able to defend one's decision and not in an emotional way at all but in a rational, objective and methodical way. Every decision should be able to logically follow the adherence to the standard and function follows form. If there is a tough decision say between two animals I have more respect for the judge who acknowledges it but then can reason their way through why one won out even if that "reason" may seem trivial such as - maybe it was just a better presentation on that day if the animals were equal in all other ways but it's important to KNOW that. It's the only way we learn as oppose to speculation, assumptions, etc. Again I'm not saying it's easy but if you're going to walk around and command the respect, be put in that position to affect placings and breeding practices then darn it you had better be able to demonstrate to me that you know what you're talking about even if I might not completely agree. There is still room and must be acceptance of some variability and subjective view but it had better have some logic to it and be relatively easy to demonstrate. If a judge cannot do that and explain it with some sense of reason then they should not have their card.

What I am saying is that it is possible to be knowledgeable about more the one breed, a breed and a discipline and more. I also am saying that we have no one to thank but ourselves about this matter. What criteria, testing, experience, etc do "we" require for the judges including those who are supposedly "welsh" judges? Is there anywhere that the judges have to demonstrate proficiency other than handing out ribbons at the end of each class? I also have long heard the lamenting about not enough judges and having to make due. Well I think there is a relatively logical answer and solution for that too; but, it requires just a little bit of accountability, a 4 letter word for many in the organization.   -  Lisa

I see the tides turning up here a little at a time. Form to function is coming back into style. Not just within our breed, but in the equine world itself. Last Sunday a small B mare of ours had gone to another show out on Long Island. The judge spoke to her trainer after the classes. She was impressed with the mare (even as I sit and pick her apart) and her 'can do' build and mental capacity. When I speak to Deanna (Embers trainer) she always comments about how SOUND Ember is. Good stuff. I do remember the day when most 'small hunter divisions' were little white Welsh trucking the kids around, I was in those classes. Now it's more the 'cookie cutter' kind that has no longevity. That is changing, it comes back around. The trickle down effect of the big hunters to the smaller version (pony hunters) is going to go by the wayside as they are NOT smaller versions of horses, they are ponies. The judge commented on that as well. Larges can stay cross breds, part breds or half Welsh, that does not bother me. What does is the smalls and mediums. They have always been pretty good examples of Welsh to me and for a long while they were not. But again they will be! I am sure of it. True to the standard Welsh are a gorgeous all-around example of a correct equine. I hear more and more of this type of stuff and not just in and around the hunt world but Dressage and Driving as well.
Judging has GOT to be difficult to say the least. I agree with the thought that people should be using the comment cards more, I am at fault for not. Last year I asked a big breeder and well known Judge after my class what she thought I could improve, work on, etc with my pony. Now mind you I understand they are looking at a billion ponies and maybe can not remember or recall every aspect of each one, BUT I put the questions I had to BOTH Judges. The UK Judge was all over what I could work on, change and had some great input. I followed his advice and did better at the next show. Good solid advice. Our US Judge had nothing to say. NOTHING. I was dumbfounded. How can you judge if you have no opinion? Lay it on the table cupcake I want to see what you are seeing and dang it, YOU ARE THE JUDGE! I'm paying for those thoughts. Yes, I know, not everyone has tough skin and can handle a good old fashioned critque, however, is that not why we go to shows??? There is no one more able to pick my ponies apart then me. I could never be called barn blind.
I do think there can be a panel of 'inspectors' that can rightly choose correct confirmation, breed type, etc. and a system of ease to base it on. Not everyone is afraid of the political consequences or the powers that be. Holy moly of course it's scary! This stuff costs money, but NO MORE scary then getting in front of a Judge that has NO IDEA why she pinned a class the way she did!!!!! I am also in agreement with whomever had said our WP Judges NEED MORE EDUCATION. Heck, not for nothing but I have been raised in the Welsh. Literally they have been in my life every single day for my short 34 years and with what I would like to think are good examples with good people from whom to learn, i.e. summers at Mollie Butler's while I was growing up. I have recently spoken to a few people about pursuing my Judges Card, and can you guess the route I would take? Through the USEF. Why? They are much more strict and you have to learner Judge with more people for more time. Then the WP can approve or not. It's a harder route to go. I want to know my sh%t, not be out there guessing with a dumb look on my face when someone asks me a question.
Marketing like mad of anything in the end equals bigger dollars, not necessarily a better product. If you are force fed something long enough tolerance goes up and it becomes the norm.
 Just some thoughts :) Fire Away!  -  Sara
Would it not improve your confidence in the placings at welsh shows if you could be confident that the animals in the classes, whether 1 or 20, were being judged against the Welsh Breed Standard not each other, and according to their Sections' description, and by the Rules?

 It would mine; but it can only be done by weeding out the poor and preference judges and replace them with judges that KNOW and support the Welsh Breed Standard, the Description of each Section, and the Rules.  -  Denise

Luckily, the Welsh Breed Standard is very plainly written and worded, and I see no problem for anyone versed in equines understanding it.  If you want to see a complicated Standard look at the American Shetland.  Anyone who can not understand the Welsh Standard needs to go back to pony school.  It is possible to get the parts of the horse off the internet, go to the feed store and buy a little book, or get one from the 4-H.  We provided in the current Welsh rules book, not only the written Standard, but descriptive wording along with pictures.  Unless you are totally brain dead, I can not see how on earth it could be hard to understand.  Now not understanding it and not wanting to understand it are two different things.  -  Cherry
Just back from our Heart of MN back to back silver shows and where I was the show secretary, show manager, announcer, exhibitor in HW pleasure driving (show 1), owner of 2 ponies shown and mom to a bunch of girls who were showing.  Our judges were Dana Caudle-Byal for the first show and Suzan Stevens for the second show.  Dana is the nicest lady and always has something encouraging to say to exhibitors.  She's been out of the ring for a few years, but is getting back in the swing of things.  Her knowledge of Welsh ponies with true type, conformation and movement has NOT diminished.  I was very pleased to show under and work with her. :)
Suzan is probably one of the best judges I've shown under/worked with.  She judges BY THE BOOK, even if this means not placing someone (didn't perform all the required gaits, rode 2 handed with a curb in western pleasure).  She did explain it to this exhibitor who was rather scared and riding a green animal - but Suzan was also VERY supportive and encouraging.  She also pointed out where our lead liners need to conform to the rulebook as to the correct bit for ponies over 5 years and number of hands on the reins when riding western.  As she says, if they start doing it wrong now, it becomes a habit that is hard to break.  And the adults should be familiar with the rules if they are going to show!  It isn't the child's fault - it's the adults who think that it's a "everyone should get a ribbon cuz they're cute" show.  But she was VERY nice to these folks, giving them the opportunity before the class to change bits and letting them know that they will be placed lower if they didn't.  Hopefully, they'll come back totally legal and correct for the next show!  Suzan also spoke with each child, giving them praise where merited and kind advise where needed.  Every exhibitor - junior or adult - that I spoke to was so grateful for her words of wisdom.  Each pony/rider came back doing better than the last class.  LOTS of big smiles.  :) For other show managers who are looking for judges for future shows, I HIGHLY recommend these ladies.  Not only do they judge BY THE BOOK, but they are lovely people who are great to work with and good with exhibitors.  I asked Suzan at the end of the day about my 2 B weanlings who had shown that morning and it took her a minute to bring them to mind (would have taken ME longer!), but she remembered them and had comments and reasons for her placings.  They were also reasonable in their fees, hotel and travel arrangements.  Our show was MORE than happy with them and wish we could have them back every year.  This was the second time we've had Dana and the third time we've had Suzan.  -  Donna


"I think that a 'minimal' inspection would be a good idea. One that could be given by a veterinarian. Breeding stock should be inspected for cryptorchidism, parrot and sow mouth, pigeon toes and excessive toeing out, cow hocks etc. We need to start with the basics in the breeding shed, and worry about breed type and movement later at shows.  -  Doris
What the h*** is a halter class is about? To me it IS a minimal inspection. It's even in the breed standard re: cryptorchidism. I'm probably one of the only judges that looks for parrot/sow mouth; base narrow/base wide/cow hocks, etc are basic conformation flaws...and I probably judge the walk a lot harder than most. It's the basis for all the other gaits.  I do get a kick out of some comments, especially since the LOC denied one commenter's application because of that person's blatant socializing with competitors during the show! People think the evaluations and complaints aren't read/checked out, but they are. If a judge gets just one negative evaluation, it's hard to take that as 'gospel' and I wouldn't want to pull any judge's card based on just one negative evaluation; however, when a judge gets more than one 'bad' evaluation then the LOC does start looking into the problem. Some problems can be corrected with education; some can't. The pool of judges for welsh is so small that we are loath to be extremely selective when it comes to bringing in new judges. One of the biggest problems I find when we are evaluating new judge's applications is that many have absolutely NO IDEA of ring procedure/safety/what to do as they have possibly had very little actual judging experience (regardless of what  their perceived level of competence regarding breed standard and performance is.) I've been in classes (not necessarily welsh classes) where it took the judge forever to make up his/her mind.   Have I made judging mistakes. I sure have. But I've learned from those mistakes...Still do as I'm not perfect and all judges DO miss things. I just try not to miss much... - Marsha
I will say that once you have made your initial placings, in my case conformation first, then movement, then type, preference does come into play. I happen to prefer a really good mover over something that might have more "type" because I believe that if a pony can't get from Point A to Point B without taking all day, what good is it? But, that is just my opinion. Perhaps the woman at the clinic meant opinion and truthfully, that's all it is - my opinion of what is before me and how it is shown on that particular day. Same ponies, different day, maybe different handlers, etc, - placings could be different - all other things being equal. Some judges put more emphasis on type, some on movement, some (like you say) don't even look at conformation, especially inheritable traits like parrot/sow mouth. And I've seen ponies go to supreme which had legs going in 4 different directions...

Not sure how many judges could be 'educated' - especially the ones who already have cards from other disciplines and/or who have been judging for years. I think it's the new ones we have to concentrate on. I would like to see clinics run with live ponies and everybody placing them and giving their reasons. I don't think it should be a pass/fail type of thing but a learning event. Of course, it would take a really good hearted, thick-skinned soul to put up their ponies for such a thing. I know the local 4H came to my place once and I had to pull 4 ponies out for them to place and then tell them how I would have placed them so they could compare their answers to mine. I think it was interesting for everyone. Of course, I pulled out one of my top mares and then went on down the line to one that I just liked her personality as she was definitely never going to be a show ring pony...  -  Marsha
Marsha, Though I agree with you wholeheartedly that "To me it IS a minimal inspection. It's even in the breed standard re: cryptorchidism."  your statement is totally true. And that in the distant past classes were judged that way, it is seldom and far between that classes are judged that way now and in the immediate past. YOU ARE one of the only judges that does look for conformation faults and that is why I recommend you whenever I am asked about judges. Believe me if I did not think that you knew what a Welsh pony should look and move like and what minor/major faults it had I would not.
However, Doris is right in one way. If the judges judging now do not know or judge against minor/major faults (especially inherited faults) then minor inspections might be a way to cull those ponies being pinned in championships and being touted as 'breeding stock'. I personally think that the UK WPCS ought to think about this one too! I am sorry if you disagree but there are people out there producing outright bad conformation in Welsh ponies and cobs and it should not be rewarded by pinning those animals up. -  Denise
Marsha, Though I agree with you wholeheartedly that "To me it IS a minimal inspection. It's even in the breed standard re: cryptorchidism."  your statement is totally true. And that in the distant past classes were judged that way, it is seldom and far between that classes are judged that way now and in the immediate past. YOU ARE one of the only judges that does look for conformation faults and that is why I recommend you whenever I am asked about judges. Believe me if I did not think that you knew what a Welsh pony should look and move like and what minor/major faults it had I would not.
However, Doris is right in one way. If the judges judging now do not know or judge against minor/major faults (especially inherited faults) then minor inspections might be a way to cull those ponies being pinned in championships and being touted as 'breeding stock'. I personally think that the UK WPCS ought to think about this one too! I am sorry if you disagree but there are people out there producing outright bad conformation in Welsh ponies and cobs and it should not be rewarded by pinning those animals up.  -  Marsha
No, we're not in disagreement on this. I just don't see how a minimal inspection a would cull these animals from the show ring. They'd still show up (at least that's how I interpret what has been said so far on the list) in the breed ring. I've even had UK judges want to dismiss the part about having them walk towards me. You can't see a lot of movement and conformation faults from the side and the 'walk away and trot back past' that most judges use, myself included doesn't cut it all the time, especially if the judge doesn't/won't move in order to see the movement from behind. Much easier to make people move directly at you. I watch other judges and they usually make no effort whatsoever to watch anything other than movement viewed from the side.

And thanks, I know you wouldn't recommend me if you didn't think I knew what I was doing.-  Marsha
Marsha, I am not sure what she means either; but, perhaps an inspection is meant for inheritable faults for breeding prior to classes. Again I don't know. I will never throw out the idea of inspections though, if it was done fairly it certainly could be an education tool. And I would want either veterinarians who actually know inheritable faults and conformation, or more experienced breeders or owners not actively breeding now, but of course not allowed to inspect animals of their own breeding. There are a lot of these people still around; and hopefully when I can retire (at about 90:) I will be considered one of them.-  Denise
If the judge does not go by the book, go by the rules, go by the breed standard, and go by the basics of good equine conformation, does not see the animals from all four sides, does not see them walk and trot, does not see them fore and aft, and place them accordingly to his/her best ability, then they have NO business being judges, period, and that goes for ANY breed.  Somewhere along the way, many have lost sight of Welsh Ponies as being EQUINES, who have the same faults and qualities as all other equines.  The current focus has been so totally obsessed with 'perceived' breed type, which usually is NOT true breed type, much of the EQUINE JUDGING has slipped away.  Often the benchmark for a Champion is now; presence, front-only action, beauty, turn-out, and showmanship of handler.  Many of the 'Champion' placements now do not in any way reflect the BEST of the breed.  Until we get BACK TO BASICS and judging accordingly, the breed will continue to suffer, and Welsh will be the losers.-  Cherry