Sunday, 22 March 2009

Wild ponies

Today in the UK was Mothering Sunday. My mother—who is 92 years old—has not been very well this winter, and consequently has not been getting out and about that much. So we decided to take her out for a drive today, finishing at a coffee bar for drinks and cake.

The weather continues to be delightful – sunny and bright and quite warm. I felt a little over-dressed in my winter clothing, but am loathe to get out my summer clothes in case I jinx it!

We set out after lunch. I didn't want to drive too far as Mum tires easily, so we headed north out of Cardiff towards Merthyr Tydfil, then east towards Abergavenny, and finally doubling back to Cardiff via Caerphilly. Heh – let's have the Welsh for those: Caerdydd, Merthyr Tudful, Y Fenni and Caerffili. This drive includes some striking landscape as it touches the edge of the Brecon mountain range. The loop back from Merthyr to Caerphilly crosses open moorland. I had never been along this narrow lane that crosses Gelligaer Common before, and it was wonderful with extensive views.

Driving slowly along the lane we were enjoying the golden gorse bushes, and delighting in the purple hue of the hillsides, and the valleys decorated with evergreens. We saw ahead of us animals that were larger than the sheep that are ever present on Welsh hills. At first we thought they were cows, but quickly realised that in fact it was a small herd of wild Welsh Mountain ponies. They were quite inquisitive when we stopped and would let us stroke their noses, but not get any closer than that. Several of them had rather dramatic manes. They all looked healthy and well fed, apart from one that looked older and thinner than the others. I think he may be the herd stallion.

It is good to know that we have these ponies living wild so near to Cardiff, and we shall certainly be visiting Gelligaer Common again before too long, to see if we are lucky enough to come across them again. If you would like to see the full set of the photographs of the Welsh Mountain ponies, please go to our flickr page (there are pictures of mum and I there too).


Funder said...

I really enjoyed the pictures. Thanks for sharing them!

Anonymous said...

These ponies are at huge risk. It's been planned that the next few days they will be rounded up and taken for slaughter . Please help save our heritage and these beautiful souls.

Anonymous said...

The reply regarding the ponies on GelliGear is written by Emma Jones who helps Welsh pony and horse group feed them. They are fighting to save them!!!