Connemara Pony breed demonstration, 2003 Western States Horse Expo
The Connemara is famous for being hardy and sure-footed, and no surpirse. The breed evolved on the rocky coast of western Ireland, where it had to develop an ability to move quickly across rough terrain. The harsh Irish weather and unforgiving landscape helped develop a breed that is resiliant and adaptable, and today's Connemara is valued for all of these qualities.
13 to 15 hands
Grey, bay, dun and brown. Some roans, occasionally chestnut, black, or palomino.
Connemaras can vary greatly in appearance, but in general: The Connemara should have a kind eye and a medium "pony" head, with pony ears and well-defined cheekbones. The shoulders should be well sloped and the back should be muscular. The hindquarters should be rounded and deep. Connemaras should have good length in the forearm, short cannons and well defined knees.
Gentle, trusting, and willing.
Members of this breed often excel in the following disciplines:
The Connemara pony is Ireland's only native breed, with a history that dates back to the ancient Celts. The Celts, who were skilled horsemen, are believed to have brought the first ponies to Connemara. Though much of the Connemara Pony's early history is based on legend and fable, it is also said that Spanish horses contributed to the breed after the sinking of the Spanish Armada in the 16th Century, when shipwrecked horses swam to shore and interbred with the wild native ponies.
Early Irish farmers often had large families to feed and could afford only one good pony, which often came from a wild herd and had to be caught and gentled. Most families owned a mare so they could sell her offspring for much-needed income, and even while pregnant she would be required to pull a plow or a cart filled with rock, turf, or people. Any animal that couldn't perform these tasks on a daily basis was replaced. This difficult lifestyle helped the Connemara develop its trademark stamina and adaptability.
Despite this long and colorful history, the Connemara didn't become an "official breed" until the Connemara Pony Stud Book was first published in 1926. The book was compiled by 30 "mostly local" Connemara gentlemen, who were concerned about the dwindling population of local mares. The group formed the Connemara Pony Breeders Society with the sole purpose of promoting the best of these mares. In an effort to improve and invigorate the breed, the Society selected the best stallions from the area and persuaded local farmers to only use the services of those stallions.
Today's Connemara is gaining popularity throughout the world as both an adult and children's pony. Its temperament and adaptability makes it well suited to a variety of disciplines, from jumping to dressage to endurance.
Connemara Pony Stud Book published in 1926. This was compiled by around thirty - mostly local Connemara gentlemen - who formed themselves into the Connemara Pony Breeders Society with the purpose of selecting a nucleus of ponies from the dwindling number of local mares and promoting them.
US Breed Association:
American Connemara Pony Society
2360 Hunting Ridge Rd
Native Country Breed Association:
British Connemara Pony Society
Glen Fern, Waddicombe
United Kingdom01398 341490