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The Irish Connemara pony - history & information about the irish connemara pony

 The Connemara pony is a native of Western Ireland, taking its name from the rugged Connemara area of County Galway. Intelligent, sure-footed and athletic, it is an ideal competition pony. 


Of all the native ponies the connemara is probably the most versatile. Standing around 13hh to 14.2hh it is small enough to be ridden by a child and is well able to carry a small adult.

 A real riding pony, the Connemara is intelligent, very sure-footed and tractable. It excels as a hunting pony and being a natural, athletic jumper is in great demand for eventing and showjumping.

 As a first or second cross with the Thoroughbred, it is probably the ideal combination for bold competition horses that retain  the pony characteristics of soundness and intelligence.   


For centuries the ponies of Connemara were an essential element in the harsh and inhospitable area, being used as farm and pack ponies in every possible circumstance and subsisting in minimal feed. Against this background of bog and moor studded with rocky outcrops, the Connemara pony developed remarkable qualities of hardiness, sagacity and agility.

 Its history goes back to the 6th century, when the Celts were raiding and trading actively on the West coast of Ireland. They introduced horses of Oriental type that would have been crossed with the indigenous stock, the latter at the time being similar to the ponies of Norway, Iceland and the Shetlands.

 During the 19th century Welsh cobs were introduced with the objective of improving the breed and a little later, and less successfully, Hackneys, Clydesdales and some Thoroughbred blood. It was not until 1923 that the 'Connemara Pony Breeders Society' was formed, and three years later it published the first stud book, restricting registration to Seventy five mares and six stallions that were considered to be of suitable type. The two most successfully stallions were probably 'Rebel' , foaled in 1922, and 'Golden Gleam' who was born a decade later. 

The Connemara Pony Breeders' Society of Ireland describes the today's Connemara Pony in the Connemara Pony Stud Book, Volume 21 (1999) as follows:

  Height: The height of the breeding Connemara pony is normally 128 cms. to 148 cms.
  Colours: Grey, black, bay, brown, dun with occasional roan and chestnut, palomino and dark eyed creams.
  Type: Compact, well-balanced riding type with good depth and substance and good heart room, standing on short legs, covering a lot of ground.
  Head: Well-balanced pony head of medium length with good width between large kindly eyes. Pony ears, well-defined cheekbone jaw relatively deep but not coarse.
  Front: Head well-set onto neck. Crest should not be over-developed. Neck not set on too low. Good length of rein. Well-defined withers, good sloping shoulders.
  Body: Body should be deep, with strong back, some length permissible but should be well-ribbed up and with strong loins.
  Limbs: Good length and strength in forearm, well-defined knees and short cannons, with flat bone measuring 18 cms. to 21 cms. Elbows should be free. Pasterns of medium length, feet well shaped, of medium size, hard and level.
Hind Quarters: Strong and muscular with some length, well-developed second thighs (Gaskin) and strong lowset hocks
  Movement: Movement free easy and true, without undue knee action, but active and covering the ground.
Good temperament, hardiness, staying power, intelligence, soundness, surefooted-ness, jumping ability, suitable for child or adult.


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