The Connemara Pony in Ireland

A horse is a horse, of course, of course, And no one can talk to a horse of course.  That is, of course, unless the horse is famous Mr. Ed!  Well…, I won’t be talking about Mr. Ed, but I will be sharing information about one of his relatives-the Connemara Pony.

Ireland’s best known native animal is the Connemara Pony-the largest of the pony breeds.  The ancestors of the Connemara Pony were possibly introduced to Ireland by the Celts.  They developed an agility and sturdiness for which they are known for, while they roamed the harsh landscape and the wilds of Connemara.

According to legend, the Connemara Pony also inherited some Spanish blood from the Armada’s stallions, who escaped in 1588 and apparently swam ashore and survived to mate with local mares.

The compact and powerful Connemara Pony was highly valued by farmers, who tamed wild mares and used them to plough cropland and haul rocks from the fields.  Breeding did not become selective until 1923, when the Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society was founded by a group based in Clifden.  The Connemara Pony, it seems, had been weakened by life in the stables by indiscriminate breeding.  Since then, the Connemara Pony has been redeveloped and refined, transforming the old work horse into a new show horse.

The adult Connemara Pony is usually between 4-5 feet in height, with a strong back, loins, and hind quarters.  They usually have a long and broad neck, which gives a good length of rein.  The head of the Connemara Pony is broad between the eyes, which should be large and portray a kind feature. They normally have deep jaws, with defined cheekbones.  The ears are relatively small.  The legs are short and muscular, with hard feet.  They are found in many colors, except pinto.

The Connemara Pony is known for its gentle disposition and is a great riding horse-for both children and adults alike.  So, if you are on vacation in Ireland, make sure to pay attention and look out for a Connemara Pony or ask your Ireland Travel Specialist how you can have a unique riding experience with one of these gorgeous creatures.

Give them some hay, and hear them welcome you to Ireland with a NEIGH!

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