1) The Connemara Pony is a native breed to Ireland.
The Connemara Pony is native to Ireland. They originate in the west coast of Ireland, a rugged yet beautiful landscape. The Connemara region is plentiful in peat bogs, lakes, mountains, beautiful coastline and breathtaking scenery. The harsh climate and rocky terrain has allowed the Connemara pony to adapt and survive, it is for this reason they are known to be hardy. In Irish they are know as the “Capaillin Chonamara” it is said that the Connemara pony is one of Ireland gifts to the world.
2) They have Spanish ancestry.
The exact origins of the Connemara pony are uncertain, but was mainly influenced by the Scandinavian and Spanish blood. It wasn’t until in 1855 when the Spanish Armanda ran aground. This was where the Spanish sailors found themselves on the coast of Galway. Their Andalusian horses were let off loose and they began to breed with the wild Scandinavian ponies in the west of Ireland. Other breeds have since been introduced into the breed but not anywhere on this scale. In the 18th and 19th century they tried to refine the breed by adding the thoroughbred and hackney. In the 20th century their were concerns that the breed was becoming to diluted. Then in 1923 the locals decided to set up the Connemara Pony Breeders Society in Co. Galway to protect the Connemara pony breed. The Connemara pony stud book was developed in 1926. Today Connemara ponies are bred worldwide including the Uk, Us, Europe, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.
3) They are known for having a fantastic temperament.
The Connemara pony has a beautiful nature. They are kind, caring, willing and trusting. They have a gentle disposition, love human affection, are inquisitive are very easy to handle. The Connemara pony is a safe and sensible breed, which makes them a fantastic mount for both children and adults alike. They are extremely intelligent and very trainable.
4) The Connemara pony can do it all!!
They have a natural jumping ability with a rectangular frame which also makes them suitable for dressage. They have great athleticism and versatility which allows them to excel in all disciplines and make great all rounder ponies. The Connemara pony can be seen competing in all rings such as show jumping, eventing, dressage, driving, working hunter showing, hunting and side saddle. They make fantastic competition ponies, safe riding pony for children and leisure ponies for activities such as beach trecking and trail rides.
5) They are the larger of the pony breeds.
The Connemara pony is one of the larger pony breed. They vary in height from 12.2hh to 15.2hh. The average height is between 14hh – 14.2hh. The Connemara pony must be 14.2hh or under to meet the breed standards of the Connemara Pony Breeder Society. They generally mature at about 5 year of age and can live well into their 30’s. The most dominant colour is grey and dun, their are also bay, brown, black, chestnut, roan and palomino.
6) They were used as work ponies in the olden days.
The Connemara pony were heavily relied on in times gone by. They were the backbone of many farming families who loved them dearly. They worked from dawn to dusk doing what ever task was being asked of them. This strong, sturdy pony was used to plough to land, pull the cart to carry turf, rocks and seaweed, the were a mode of transport carrying the family to mass on a Sunday, as well as a mount for hunting, racing and local shows. They did not have a day rest. Today however, the can enjoy a more modern and enjoyable live style.
7) Many Connemara ponies have made history.
Little squire: Was known as the “Littest horse with the biggest heart” in the US. He won open championship by clearing fences that were 7 foot in height. The Nugget: won over 300 hundred international competitions. Had prize earnings of £4,500. At the age of 22 years he cleared a 7″ 2 jump. Stroler: A half bred Connemara. he was the only pony to compete in an Olympic games. Representing Britain he competed in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico with rider Marion Coakes. They won the silver individual medal and was one of only two clear rounds at the Olympics games, clearing a puissance wall of 6″10. Dundrum: Tommy wade Connemara gelding Dundrum was supreme champion at the Wembley horse of the year show where he set a puissance record of 7″2 . In 1961 he won 5 major event at the RDS and was named show-jumper of the century. It was the 1st time ever that a rider had so many wins, let alone with the same horse.Theses are just a small selection ,their are many more famous Connemara ponies that have made history.
8) The connemara pony is sought after worldwide.
The first ever Connemara pony was imported into Australia in 1963. Dr. Fred Wiltshire imported a pony called “Island King” into the country. Today the breed can be seen in many country across the globe such as Ireland, UK, Sweden, Finland, Norwary, Germany, Belgium, France, Denmark, Italy, South Africa, Switzerland, New Zealand, America, Canada, Australia, Austria.
9) The Annual International Connemara pony show is held in Clifden Co. Galway Ireland each year.
The largest display of Connemara Ponies can be seen at the International Connemara pony show which is held in Clifden in August each year. This is a Hugh gathering from both home and abroad. The show attracts many tourists from overseas which make up 60% of the attendance. It is a great gathering where ponies are judged and sold. The overseas breeders can meet and greet with Irish Connemara pony breeders, exchange information and make contacts. Their is a wide variety on show with up to 20 different class show casing, mares, foals, stallions, young stock and riding ponies.
10) The Connemara pony was only made an official breed in 1926.
This was founded in Clifden, Co.Galway in 1926, where 30 local men came together and vouched to protect and develop the breed. The Connemara pony stud book was published in 1923 to make it official.