We would like to thank Equine behaviourist Jennie Nellist for this entry of the ponies living on the Gower Peninsula, Wales.
Species: Equus caballus
Subspecies/Breed/Type Gower ponies
Country: United Kingdom
Region/Province/Range: Gower, Swansea
Population type: Free-ranging-heavily managed
Estimated Population size: over 250 horses
Images by Jennie Nellist
Details of Population
The Gower Peninsula contains a total of 50 square kilometers of common land, split into many smaller parcels, most of which are grazed by ponies and horses. From salt marsh and sand dunes of North Gower, heath land of Rhossili Down, the brown stone ridge and sink holes of Cefn Bryn, to the acidic moors of Welsh Moor, Pengwern, Fairwood and Clyne, Gower’s textbook fame for its remarkable geology makes sure there’s surprising variety of habitat in an area only 19 miles long. See also.
Structure and demographics
Each common varies as to the number of ponies or horses, as well as their type or breed, sex ratio and the presence of foals and juveniles. Typically Welsh Mountain ponies are seen, with a number of active Hill Pony Improvement Societies in place – with ponies being registered with the Welsh Pony and Cob Society. There are also other Welsh ponies and cobs, cobs, cross breeds, Irish Draft horses and Shire and Shire crosses grazed on Gower commons. Some ponies are not used for breeding, are bred on private land and mares are returned to the common to give birth to and rear their young. Other scenarios include temporary turnout of a stallion over the spring and summer breeding season. Stallions may also be turned out all year round. Stallions are also abandoned by owners without common grazing rights. Over all, the population is mostly mares with geldings and stallions in the minority (tens compared to hundreds)
Issues worth noting and needed actions
There is an on going problem with abandonment of equines across the Swansea area and wider South Wales.
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