Rainhill Welsh Cobs

Anthony and Aileen Booth founded Rainhill Welsh Cobs in 1980. Aileen was always crazy about horses and had had a succession of riding and driving horses when we went, for a day out with the children, to a County show. There we saw a Welsh Cob stallion in harness, eyes blazing, snorting, stamping his feet and when he moved his action was breathtaking. When Anthony said Why dont we have horses like that? Rainhill Welsh Cobs was born. We bought our first cob, Trevallion Johanna, at the 1980 Llanarth Sales. Sadly her first two foals did not survive and it was not until late in 1984 that her first foal, Rainhill Fantasy was born. After so many dreams and so much disappointment we sold Johanna and Fantasy in 1985. Anthony, the non-horsey partner in Rainhill Welsh Cobs, bought a camera to help him differentiate between and remember the cobs he had seen. More than thirty years later many of those photos can be viewed on this website. Discovering Welsh Cobs also introduced us to the majesty of the Welsh countryside, the myths and legends of Wales, Wild Wales by George Borrow and to many warm friendships with fellow cob enthusiasts. Soon after we started breeding Welsh Cobs Mrs Willson of Cwrtymynys gave us an old photo of Hendy Brenin. We said then, and still believe today, that he represents all that a Welsh Cob should be.

Why Rainhill?

In 1829 the Directors of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company offered a prize of 500 pounds for the most efficient locomotive engine. The competition was held at Rainhill, near Liverpool, in October. The picture of the Rainhill Trials is from a painting by Alan Fearnley. An ancestor, Henry Booth, won the Rainhill Trials with the Rocket which he designed with George Stephenson and which was built by Robert Stephenson. They shared the prize in thirds. The Rocket used to be depicted on the British five pound note, where, unfairly, the credit is given to George Stephenson alone.

Subsequently, Henry Booth became General Manager of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway and it was due to his efforts, in the interests of railway timetables, that, in 1847 Greenwich Mean Time was adopted, instead of local time, throughout the UK. His statue is in St.Georges Hall in Liverpool.

Aileen’s Horses

Aileen was born and brought up in Scotland. Her family had no interest in horses and so, as a small child, she had to make do with a hobby horse.

Her first ride was on an Icelandic pony when staying with her mothers family in Iceland.

During school holidays Aileen would help at a local farm where Clydesdales were still used for farmwork. She raked up the hay behind Jean, a Clydesdale mare.

On leaving school Aileen saved enough to buy a retired race horse who had subsequently been used for breeding. Sliding Scales (Lolo) did not have a very distinguished racing record:

Aileen rode Lolo for more than 20 years and she was over 30 when she died,

Her second horse was also retired, in this case, from delivering coal in Central Glasgow. Darkie, promptly renamed Pan (short for Panchito), was used to give riding lessons to local children. After Glasgow Art School and Porlock Aileen came south to teach riding but soon married Anthony. He thought that she would grow out of it! Children were followed by a succession of ponies which Aileen drove, with the children in the governess cart, and the children rode. Trotsky was the first

Daughter Vanessa, on Trotsky, winning the fancy dress class as a horse chestnut at our local show!

Then there was Pushkin.

It was necessary to dismantle the trap to fit in the hired trailer, with Pushkin, for the first driving show we attended. Re-assembly turned out to more of a problem than we expected and our day was saved by Bill Hosier who had all the right tools and knowledge to get us back together. That chance meeting was the start of a partnership with Bill which has lasted more than 30 years. Bill, a skilled craftsman, built and maintained the traps and had a lorry and Aileen looked after the horses. (Anthony went to work!). Together they competed successfully in driving classes with Flicka:

and Jolly

and more success during the 1980s with Rainhill Rosina

Ystrad Dewi Flyer could not be left out

Lakeside Bionic Bill was very successful in the 90s

and now there is Rangehill Rainbows End