The Connemara "Stands on short legs, covering a lot of ground". They have a short,
dense, flat and clean cannon bone, measuring 7 to 9 inches below the knee. The body
is deep and compact, well-balanced with depth, substance and good heart room. The
Connemara has a good sloping shoulder, length of rein, and moves freely with little
knee action in surprisingly large strides for its heights. On this strong, sturdy
body sets a handsome head with a well defined jaw and good width between large kind
eyes. They are mannerly and manageable, kind and responsive, and possess good sense
and basic intelligence. Easy keepers, they do not require a rich diet to stay healthy
The Connemara is the largest of the pony breeds, ranging in height from 13 - 15 hands
with 14 - 14.2 hands as the average. Full maturity is reached at five years of age,
sometimes older, and they can live well into their 30's. The most common colors are
grey and dun, but there are blacks, bays, browns, chestnuts, palominos and an occasional
roan. Black points are common but paints are not acceptable. Sure-footed, hardy and agile,
they possess powers of great stamina, staying power and adaptability. They are renowned
for their versatility and their gentle, tractable, sensible and willing dispositions.
When one thinks of a pony breed children come to mind, yet the Connemara has always
been a suitable mount for children AND adults. In the United States, the largest
market for the Connemara is a middle-aged woman.
The Connemara has a natural jumping ability, and its build lends it suitable for
dressage. They often beat larger horses with staying power, intelligence and heart.
As a show jumper or working hunter, eventing, western pleasure, endurance and driving
– the Connemara can do it all!
There are no large commercial breeding farms. Most keep only a few mares. After all,
the Connemara breed was built on one good mare per farm. Foals are raised with much
Connemaras have been exported to all European countries, even New Zealand and Australia.
With there ability to adapt to extremes of climate, they have made useful working
partners with those who own them and have competed with the best of the sport horse
breeds. These ponies are the image of strength, kindness and trust and can charm their
way into your heart.
While the history of the Connemara is obscure it is considered Ireland's only
native breed. The Ancient Celts brought two ponies to Connemara more than 2,500
years ago and used them to draw war chariots and carts along the beaches of
their new found home. Legend has it that when the Spanish Armada sank off the
Connemara coast in the 16th Century, the horses swam to shore and bred with
the native ponies running wild in the mountains.
The area of Western Ireland known as Connemara is rocky, barren mountainous
terrain and is full of endless desolate moors and bogs with shores pounded by
the tide and storms of the Atlantic. These ponies learned to live in these
conditions where a misplaced step could send a pony crashing to its death.
Over the centuries in the ruggedness of their western Irish environment, the
Connemara developed its prized qualities of hardiness, agility and extraordinary
Farmers in this area had large families to support and could usually only
afford one good pony. These were often captured off the mountain and tamed.
This pony had to be a mare that could have a foal each year to sell and also
pull a plow or a cart and work from dawn to dusk often under extremely harsh
conditions. These ponies were fitted with baskets called creels to carry heavy
loads. The Connemara pony moved tons of rock and hauled seaweed from the shores
to fertilize the barren fields. Their strong sturdy legs could maneuver through
the muck which might swallow a different type of horse. She pulled the plow and
carted the family to Mass on Sunday. Never a day of rest she survived by having
hardiness, stamina and a good disposition or she was replaced. Stallions would
travel the primitive roads between villages breeding many mares and covering
many miles in one day. Local racing was popular and the Connemaras competed
equally with the larger Irish Hunters and Thoroughbreds.
The Connemara Pony Breeders Society was formed in 1923 in Clifden by the local
breeders for the purpose of conserving and developing the breed. Centuries of
natural selection, some interference needed for human survival, followed by
the past 72 years of selective breeding has given us the quality Connemara
we have today.
Information provided by the American Connemara Pony Society
For further information about the Connemara Pony, please contact:
American Connemara Pony Society
2360 Hunting Ridge Road
Winchester , VA 22603
Tel: (540) 622-5953
Fax: (540) 722-2277
Web Site: www.acps.org