This is the native pony breed of Ireland. It is a hardy pony from the wild and mountainous region of Connaught. These ponies are able to survive the extreme climate eating herbs, rushes and reeds as well as grass! They are sure footed and agile with great adaptability!
Their exact origin is unknown, they may have Scandinavian origin or may have arrived with the Spanish Armada or with the Celts. At the time they were used as war ponies and they pulled chariots. Over the last 2 or 3 centuries the breed was crossed with Hackneys, Thoroughbreds and Arabian blood.
In 1845 the great famine in Ireland put the ponies at risk with a reduction in breeding and export to work as pit ponies. The Connemara Pony Society was begun in 1923 to prevent further dilution of the breed. Now they are found worldwide!
There have been a few famous Connemara's.
Nugget cleared 7'2" at the age of 22 back in 1935. It was a world record at the time. He won over 300 prizes.
Stroller was ridden by Marion Coakes and at only 14.2hh competed as a showjumper. He was not purebred Connemara but he competed at the Olympics in 1968 and won many other international competitions.
Colour: Most are grey but they can be Black, Brown, or Dun and sometimes Chestnut or Roan.
Conformation: Small heads with large and kind eyes. The neck is well-balanced and the shoulders sloping. The girth is deep and the body compact with strong quarters. Cannon bones are short and hard with dense bone.
Temperament: Excellent temperaments and brilliant children's ponies. They are intelligent and hardy. Good all rounders! They are fast and sturdy as well as being natural jumpers. Connemara ponies are good for endurance riding and eventing. Also, good in harness and when crossed with Thoroughbreds they can become a larger good all round riding horse too.
British Connemara Pony Society: http://www.britishconnemaras.co.uk/.
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