The Connemara Pony originated in Ireland and is believed to be bred from Scandinavian ponies brought to Ireland by the Vikings with another breed most likely the now extinct Irish Hobby.
A legend states that a Spanish Armada in 1588 became grounded, the Andalusians aboard were set free and bred with the native horses to create the Connemara.
During the 1700s, Arabian blood was added to increase the strength and stamina of the Connemara. Hackneys and Thoroughbreds were also introduced, but with the excessive amount of crossbreeding, the bloodline began to diminish. The Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society was formed in 1923 and to preserve the breed a stud book was formed in 1926.
Today, the Connemara are bred worldwide. Ireland, Britain, Europe, North America, Australia and South Africa all take part in the breeding.
An adult Connemara generally stands 50 to 60 inches high. It has a strong back, loins, and hind quarters. The rib area is deep and broad with laid-back shoulders and well proportioned neck. The large eyes are set wide on the head, the ears are relatively short and the jaw is well refined. Its legs are short between the hocks and ground and the upper leg is muscular and strong.
Colors of the coat are gray, black, brown, bay, dun, roan, chestnut, palomino and dark-eyed cream. Pinto colored ponies are not accepted by the Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society. The Society also states the pony should be intelligent, well tempered, surefooted and able to jump.
The ponies are inspected and graded according to the breeder association’s standards. Grade 1 is the best quality ponies. If the pony doesn’t meet the required standard, then it is given a Grade 2 or 3.
The Connemara Pony is used mainly for sports, showing and riding. In August, an Annual Clifden Connemara Pony Show takes place in Galway, Ireland. Ten riding classes and 22 in-hand classes are on display.
Image Caption: Connemara Pony. Credit: Olaf Kleinwegen/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0-DE)