Why “Here-Be Dragons” for farms devoted to breeding outstanding Welsh ponies and cobs? Our breeding began in 1999 with a visit to Wales; literally on the hills of Wales. The dragon is the symbol of Wales and the Welsh flag features a magnificent red dragon emblazoned on a green/white background. The medieval term “Here-Be Dragons” illustrates the early cartographer’s difficulty in defining the edges of land masses and the extent of the unexplored seas, and therefore they often penned in the unknown area of the map, “Here-Be Dragons.”
Longtime driving enthusiasts and pony devotees, Martha Stover and Cynthia Lawrence are convinced that the Welsh Pony of Cob Type (Section C Welsh) have the substance and stamina to excel in Combined Driving Events and still be stylish enough for the Pleasure Driving Show ring. The Welsh Pony of Cob Type exhibits some of the same classic characteristics as the other types of Welsh recognized in the Welsh Pony and Cob Society of America; the chiseled head, expressive eye, strong back and ground covering stride, all in a “cobbier” or more substantial package. Their compactness, size and style have quickly earned them points as a sports utility pony!
Prior to the importation of Here-Be Dragons breeding stock in 1999, Martha and Cynthia were fortunate to find and own several Section Cs in the USA; one an earlier importation from Wales. Realizing from experience that Welsh Ponies of Cob Type were uncommon in the USA and continuing to experience driving successes with their ponies, Here-Be Dragons decided to develop a breeding program. The Here-Be Dragons foundation stock has grown from the first imported group of weanlings. An additional trip to Wales provided Here-Be Dragons the opportunity to import the 2 year old Section C stallion, Synod Ronan, already an accomplished In Hand champion in the UK; allowing Here-Be Dragons to jump start its breeding program.
Shortly after their breeding program began, Here-Be Dragons learned of the ASPR. Here was a program that recognized ponies as true sport equines! An American registry with great understanding and appreciation of ponies! North America has long neglected the pony sport world except for hunter ponies for young riders. ASPR has taken on the challenge of molding a sport pony for the future by evaluating breeding stock and keeping records of blood lines.
Here-Be Dragons attended their first ASPR in 2003 with Synod Ronan where he was awarded a Premier rating and the Pony Site Championship. The following year, Ronan performed a driven dressage test and scored Premium Premier and Site Champion. The 10 foals required to complete Ronan’s permanent ASPR stallion license have all received Premium or Premium Premier status, and each year have been awarded Site Championships or Reserves. All of the foals by Ronan, out of a variety of mares, Welsh, Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, Warmblood and Morgan, exhibit refinement and outstanding sport conformation. In 2006, the judges were impressed by Ronan’s ability to stamp his get. They pointed out during the final review how they could look down the line and pick out the five Ronan foals regardless of their dams’ breeding and conformation. Ronan does have what a stallion should have – prepotency. The earliest of Ronan’s offspring are now showing successfully shown in driving competitions and under saddle. We are proud that Ronan has made a significant contribution to the foundation of ASPR breeding stock.
Here-Be Dragons has also presented their mature mare breeding stock to ASPR for inspection and all have been approved as premiums. We want our mares to perform and produce. An example is 12 year old Wynshire’s Desire, a premium ASPR pony and producer of an ASPR premium filly by Ronan. HBD returned this mare to ADS driving competition this year and she won a Championship (Villa Louis) and a Reserve (Metamora); both highly acclaimed Pleasure Driving Shows.
Here-Be Dragons will continue to promote their Welsh Ponies in a variety of disciplines and supports their customers in achieving their Sport Pony goals following the standards set by ASPR. Try Driving a Dragon for yourself – you will not be disappointed!