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The Connemara Pony is native to that part of Ireland, west of Galway, known as CONNEMARA.
The environment is harsh, lashed with gales from the Atlantic and consisting mainly of bog, mountain terrain with granite outcrops and scree, small, sparsely scattered grassed areas interspersed with granite outcrops. Ponies graze this land and feed on grasses, herbs, reeds, rushes, bog plants and, where access is available, they feed on seaweed which is rich in minerals and Iodine. Shelter is difficult to find and the ponies utilise the deep gullies of the mountains, rocky outcrops and the shrubbery, where it exists. This environment requires a hardy, surefooted and frugal pony for survival.
This Pony is the CONNEMARA PONY.
In 1963 Dr Fred Wiltshire imported the Connemara Pony Stallion ISLAND KING. With this import began the Connemara Pony breed in this country. The first purebred Connemara foal born in Australia was Connemara Park Kenneth, (Island Prince (cps 136) x Ardan (1001) (cps 2465)) in 1966, and with him the first Australian Connemara Stud Prefix. In 1966 Connemara Park Ann, (Island King (1) (cps 122) x Ardan (1001) (cps 2465) the first purebred filly was born and she was the first Australian bred purebred. Dr Wiltshire's original reason for importing the Connemara was to improve the Australian Pony. He hoped to add movement, bone and scope to this breed and Island King was in fact registered as an Australian Pony Stallion.
Since that day in 1963 the Connemara Pony Breeders' Society of Australia Inc. has continued to grow with Studs in every State of Australia and many ponies being moved around the nation. Milestones have been achieved and achievements have gone beyond expectations in the stock that has been bred and is now being bred by the various breeders. Australian Connemara ponies have been and are being sought by overseas buyers, and with the Australian Society being granted "Approved" Status within the International Society of Connemara Breeders this trend is expected to escalate. The latest import in 1999 being Castle Baron, (Abbeyleix Owen x Castle Dame), imported by Glenormiston Stud in Queensland. This Stallion has his first stock on the ground and it looks like the tradition will continue. Interest is being resurrected and new breeders are appearing on the scene, but former breeders have also discovered a new interest in the Society with the addition of this new bloodline.
Height: not exceeding 14.2hh at two years of age or at the time of inspection.
Colours: Grey, Black, Bay, Brown, Dun ,Roan, 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 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 at least 18cms.
Hind Quarters: Strong and muscular with some length, well-developed second thighs (gaskin) and strong low-set hocks.
Movement: Free, easy and true, active and covering the ground.
Characteristics: Good temperament, hardiness, staying power, intelligence, soundness, surefootedness, jumping ability, suitable for child or adult.
Connemara Pony Breeders' Society of Australia Inc. STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE. Revised September 1999
To sum up.
The Connemara pony is a first class utility animal, equally suitable to carry a child or adult, and owning such a pony has many advantages for a family. He pays handsome dividends in safety, be it in riding for fun or competition and as has happened in every other country where he has been introduced, he will make lots of friends and admirers and will always do his best.