Five similar breeds resulted from the quest for tin, copper, lead and cattle in the period from about 700 B.C. to A.D. 200. Phoenician and other sea-traders from the western Mediterranean sailed west through the Straits of Gibraltar and up the west coast of Iberia founding trading colonies all along the route. With them they brought stallions of Afro-Turkic derivation (3), which covered mares of the Draft subspecies native to western Europe (2), thus founding the Iberian Jennet (5), Brittany (6), Cornish (7), Welsh (9) and Irish Hobby (8) breeds. The Hobby was bred by Irish royalty for sprintracing, while all these breeds were originally valued for their comfortable ambling travel gait.
While all breeds represented on this map are similar in appearance and overall size (800 to 900 pounds), the Iberian and Irish forms are astonishingly similar, reflecting the long history of north-south trade over the Celtic Sea. All of them exhibit to some extent the characteristically undulating facial profile and rounded muzzle they inherited from their Draft-subspecies ancestresses. Photographs of recent Kerry Bog and Asturian stallions were used to create the Hobby and Jennet icons respectively. The icon for the extinct Breton horse is based on a photo of its direct descendant, the Old Canadian; the two breeds are identical, though only the Canadian population is still in existence. The Welsh icon is drawn from a photo of a Welsh Pony of cob type; other Welsh ponies were topcrossed in the 19th century with Arabian and thus do not resemble the ancient type. The Cornish pony is rare today; the icon is drawn from an early 20thcentury photograph of one of the last of the Cornish mine ponies. For review and more details, see “The Hobby: World’s Most Important Horse Breed” (EQUUS 446).