Considered Ireland’s only native breed, the Connemara
Pony originates from an area of the same name
located in Western Ireland and noted for its rocky, barren
and mountainous terrain which is full of seemingly endless and desolate moors
and bogs. Originally developed as a utilitarian working horse by the local farmers,
the Connemara dutifully pulled a plow through the barren land, hauled rocks
and other heavy loads over rough roadways and through heavy bogs, and carted the
family to church on Sunday.
Over the centuries in the ruggedness of their native environment,
the Connemara developed its prized qualities of hardiness, agility and steadfast disposition.
The Connemara is recognized as the largest of the world’s pony breeds, ranging
from 13 to 15 hands in height. Because of their deep, substantive and
sturdy body type, the Connemara make suitable mounts for children and adults alike, and
compete very successfully right alongside more conventional sport horse breeds. While
grey and dun are the most common colors for Connemaras, they can also be black, bay, brown,
chestnut, palomino or even roan. Black points are common, but pinto coloring is not accepted.
The rich heritage, as well as the temperament, intelligence and sensible nature of the
Connemara, makes it an ideal candidate for work in harness in today’s show ring. Because
of this, the Connemara is a frequent competitor in combined driving and driven
dressage classes. The Connemara also possesses heart, determination and extraordinary
jumping ability, so it often competes as a show jumper, working hunter
or eventer. This versatile breed’s rectangular build makes the Connemara a natural fit for dressage,
Western and English pleasure, and even endurance riding.
American Connemara Pony Society