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Germany: Herbert Imping In Memoriam

Untitled 5Not only the German Connemara Pony breeder’s world lost one of its doyens, Herbert Imping passed away early on Saturday morning after suffering from severe illness for the last two years. He was 86.

We met Herbert first in 1976 when he was already an experienced Connemara pony breeder who had imported several ponies from the Netherlands and Ireland. I was six years old at that time and my family was invited to his house situated in the mildly mountainous region “Sauerland” in Westfalia. We got a warm hearted welcome from him and his wife Helga, who had loads of tea and food for us while Herbert provided us with pony stories and Irish stories and did so continuing for hours. To me visiting them has been like that ever since then. Last time we visited him about 4 weeks ago, now with my own two year son who was as impressed by his beard like I was more than thirty years before.

He was not only a pony man and a passionate whip, he loved his hunting and fishing, he kept bees and had great skills in all kind of crafts and built his own carriages. He loved travelling the world and it was only two years ago that he came home from a 12 weeks trip to Alaska. He was devoted to the breed and served both German Connemara Pony Societies for many years as president, working for their reuninification.

Herbert’s most renown mare was Ganty Mint (Carna Bobby-Clonkeehan Auratum) that he bought after long time negotiations from Joe MacNamara in Craughwell, Connemara. She was carrying a filly foal by Calla Boy which was called Bigge Calla Mint and left a legacy of daughters for Herbert’s Bigge Stud behind. Ganty Mint was also the dam of the stallion Power Boy who sired no less than 6 states premium mares and the licensed stallion Pollux S.

He will be dearly missed by those who loved him and those who respected him.

Sabine Dröge from Germany

Australia: Performance News 2009


With the tragic bush fires in Southern Australia, the devastating cyclones in the north of Queensland and the interminable drought that covers almost all of the lower half of the country, some Connemara owners and breeders do have a reason to smile, even if only briefly.

Glenormiston Tipper O'Toole

Glenormiston Tipper O’Toole

Sue Clarke, Glenormiston stud, Queensland would have a broad grin at the moment. Castle Baron (Abbeyleix Owen – Castle Dame) whilst involved with his stud duties has had time to go showing and recently brought home the champion and supreme champion ribbons. His son, Glenormiston Tipper O’Toole (owned by Sue Clarke and ridden by Lyndie Easton) gave Baron a shake and was awarded the reserve champion ribbon. Later in the day he took out the champion ridden ribbon; reserve champion ridden stallion of the show, and then to show his family class he was awarded the champion dressage horse of the show.

In all Tipper O’Toole has had three wins and twelve placings in official dressage competitions during 2008, including a 4th place at the 2008 Queensland state dressage championships. Tipper was also undefeated in agricultural shows in Connemara saddle classes and only beaten once in hand and then by his sire Castle Baron. In 2009 Tipper has continued demonstrating the excellent qualities of the Connemara pony by taking out the reserve champion Connemara stallion class, champion ridden Connemara pony and champion dressage pony against all breeds at the Queensland APSB show.

Castle Baron, still a young stallion, is certainly proving through his own efforts and those of his progeny, that the well known “Village” ponies are a forced to be reckoned with regardless of their location.

Other ponies from Glenormiston Stud stallions or Glenormiston bred ponies are also noticeable in the performance fields. Capparis High Roller (Domo Cavallo Praize – Glengarry Patsy Malone – Abbeyleix Finnbar) has an excellent dressage record. 2007 official dressage pony of the year, 2008 state pony club elementary champion and 2008 reserve champion official elementary pony of the year.

Noweddie Nicholas (Glenormiston O’Neill Clanaboy – Rainey Island Joy) was awarded the 2008 national pony preliminary dressage championship ribbon and the 2008 national pony novice dressage reserve championship ribbon.

Capparis High Roller

Capparis High Roller

Riverdell Park Capella (Glenormiston Slipper – Colmaur Colleen) has excelled being awarded the 2008 PC zone showjumping and equitation championships – 1st in both 17 -26 yrs equitation rounds, champion 17 -26 yrs equitation, 1st in all three classes of pony and galloway showjumping, champion pony and galloway showjumping. Capella was also awarded 4 state pony club medals from 4 appearances in showjumping and combined training.

The mare Glenormiston Aedin (Abbeyleix Finbar – Glenormiston Abbey Lara) owned and ridden by Lyndie Easton competed in 2008 in official dressage competition for 2 wins and 11 placings including a 7th at the 2008 Queensland state dressage championships.

Domo Cavallo Praize, mentioned above as the sire of Capparis High Roller, was an excellent show jumper and eventing pony and competed in the open fields in both disciplines. He was rarely beaten in eventing despite standing just 14.2hh. His versatility was shown as he was also a champion and reserve champion harness pony. Praize has a pure bred gelding son Glenormiston Patrick (dam – Washlands Rebecca) who was also a successful A& B Grade show jumper. Patrick eventually went to a younger rider who took him through pony club, inter school competition etc. At 19 yrs, Patrick can still be found competing in these events.

Abbeyleix Finbar, another of the Glenormiston stallions, was a fabulous jumper and competed in eventing and showjumping. Oxenholm Gideon, the third leg of the Glenormiston fabulous performance stallion trio competed successfully in all jumping disciplines and excelled in speed events. Praize, Finbar and Gidgeon have now all gone to greener pastures but their combined performance qualities as can be found in the Glenormiston mare contingent will be seen for many generations yet to come. Add to this, the now emerging performance qualities of Castle Baron and the Village line, Glenormiston ponies have a very bright future.

Ireland: Fabulous Derby Win For Ballyowen Maybelle Molly


The seven year old Irish Connemara mare, Ballyowen Maybelle Molly, competed at the Complet International de Fontainebleau Show Jump Championships in France on 18th and 19th April 2009.

Molly competed in the final seven year old International Jumping Competition over a huge, highly technical course. Molly had the only treble clear round out of the entire field. Huge congratulations must go to her rider, Kelly Allen and owner Anthony McCormac. The results of the mare’s two days competition are:

CSIP Table A against the clock, International Jumping Competition for 7 year old, FEI Art. 238.2.1 1m15 Saturday 18th April:

  1. BALLYOWEN MAYBELLE MOLLY (ISH); Kelly Allen (IRL) Faults 0.00 – time 34.99
  2. LITTLE DARK WARRIOR (IRRP) ; Niamh Dooley (IRL) Faults 0.00 – time 57.67
  3. OMBRE DES FALAISES; Robin Muhr (FRA) Faults 0.00 – time 65.15
  4. IRISH NIGHT WATCHMAN; Brian Crowley (IRL) Faults 0.00 – time 72.83

CSIP Pony final seven year old, International Jumping Competition Table A with jump off. FEI Art.238.1.2 1m20 Sunday 19th April 2009:

  1. BALLYOWEN MAYBELLE MOLLY (ISH); Kelly Allen (IRL) Faults 0.00/0.00 – time 34.28
  2. IRISH NIGHT WATCHMAN; Brian Crowley (IRL) Faults 0.00/4.00 – time 34.93
  3. GARRYDNUG GOLD DIGGER (ISH); Madeline Roberts Allen (IRL) Faults 0.00/4.00 – time34.99

A terrific result for owner, rider and the Connemara pony in general.bally


It was a joyous occasion for all her connections – owner Anthony Mac Cormack, rider Kelly Allen and breeders John and Jenny Richardson when Ballyowen Maybelle Molly won the seven year old derby at Fontainbleau on April 19th 2009. She had become, officially, the best seven year old in Europe. Her magnificent achievement was not a surprise to me because I know the family and have followed its fortunes for many years

It all started when Sean Mac Lochlainn bought a three year old filly by Tiger Gill out of a Tully Lad mare called Kiss me Kate. She was a dun roan and stood at 13 hh. Sean entered her in Class14 at the Clifden Show in August 1960. This was a class for non registered Connemara mares not less than three years old. His sole purpose in doing so was that such ponies could be inspected for registration at the show which she was. She was called Lus na bPog (2103).

Her career as a show pony was short and inglorious but she became the most wonderful broodmare and left five fabulous daughters.

The oldest, Poigin (Carna Dun) went to England/Scotland. Ballyowen Belle (Carna Dun) stayed in Ireland with the Richardsons. Ciotog (Doon Paddy) went to Montana/Canada. Bla an Duinin (Doon Paddy) went to Sweden and Doireann (Macdara) went to France.

There is obviously a big Little Heaven influence but I also think there is a big female thing going on in this family The females are so dominant that we mustn’t give too much of the credit to the ‘topline’. Consider also that Doireann, who was by Macdara (no outside blood), produced Balladin de Fremur (Macky) in France, a registered stallion who jumped at national level there, thus garnering a big reputation for himself and the breed.

The extended Lus na bPog family is littered with great performers but three of them were genuine superstars operating at the very highest level. They were Poigin, Golden Avenns Ruby (daughter of Ciotog) and Molly (daughter of Belle). All three were females ridden by extremely talented girls – Fiona Clarke, Melanie Jacobi and Kelly Allen respectively.

Poigin and Goldie were allrounders, excelling in a variety of disciplines. They looked alike being typical of the Carna Dun line i.e. tall, scopey strong heads. Molly is different in that she is an absolute jumping machine and looks as well as she jumps. Doris Jacobi and I have written previously about Poigin and Goldie (English Chronicle 2001) and all I can say about Molly, being a seven year old, is that her career, stunning as it is to date, is only beginning.

The prominence of the females in the family is intriguing The talent and athleticism is unquestionable and if Sean were alive today we can assume that he would regard the £77-10-0 that he paid for Lus and her companion Londubh fifty years ago, as pretty good value!

Tom MacLochlainn

Finnish Connemara Pony Society – 25 years in 2009

finnish1The Finnish Connemara Pony Society is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2009. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since the founding of the society in 1984. The number of Connemara ponies has grown steadily, and it is estimated that there are about 600 pure bred ponies in Finland today. In 2008 there were eight stallions standing at stud and the 200th mare was inspected for Stud Book. For the past few years breeders have had the possibility to use leased stallions from abroad as well as frozen semen from some internationally well known stallions to their mares, too.

The show season in Finland has two highlights: The National Pony Show for all breeds in Helsinki, taking part the first weekend of August every year gathering approximately 450 ponies, and the Connemara Pony Show, which hopefully will be able to establish it’s annual position in the show calendar in the beginning of September. A Connemara pony has been chosen as the Best In Show at the National Pony Show twice. In 1983 mare Espe Etta was the best pony of the show, and in 2002 her daughter Caragh Elaine Aisling (by Kåsta Scaramouche) repeated her dam’s success. The judge for Connemara Ponies is invited together with the Finnish New Forest Pony Society, so usually the judges come from Great Britain.

Last year the best Connemara pony at the National Show was mare Aramara Eliza, 18 years of age. Her breeder is Outin Talli, and the owner is Hanna Koli from Pertteli in South Western Finland. Eliza is by internationally known dressage stallion Ardnasillagh O’Flaherty, out of Danish born Pilgaards Camilla (Padraig of Rosenaharley). She has so far had four foals and is now in foal to Ashfield Cathal Crobdhearg who visited Finland in 2008.

The best young Connemara pony of the show was the only one of year 2008 Champions not born in Finland. Yearling colt Halle Lafferty (Coosheen Finbarr – Lofty Hazy Rambler – Frederiksminde Hazy Chance, breeder Ingrid Hallengård, owner Susanna Rahikainen) was imported to Finland in spring 2008.

finnish2The best Connemara stallion of the show was Symphatil Hazy Becks (Frederiksminde Hazy Marvel – Pilgaards Canoc – Cnoc Dabuide, owner and breeder Susanna Rahikainen), while the best foal was filly Rockfield Arctic Glow (Atlantic Ace – Rockfield Scaramé – Kåsta Scaramouche, breeder and owner Merja Nurmi).

A month later it was time for the 12th Connemara Pony Show in Finland. The first show had been arranged in 1989, and the judge back then was Mrs Elizabeth Petch. In 2008 Mrs Petch returned to judge the show and was pleased to see the number of quality ponies bred in Finland. All Champion titles went to Finnish bred ponies!













The Supreme Champion of the day was nine year old stallion Rockfield Scarface. He is by Ard Ri Cunga, out of Rockfield Scaramé (by Kåsta Scaramouche). Breeder and owner is Merja Nurmi. The show was held at Scarface’s current home stables near Loviisa, Southern Finland, where he is in training and participating in dressage classes on regional level. He is going to spend the 2009 breeding season in Sweden.

Other champions were the Junior Champion and Reserve Supreme Champion, yearling filly Caragh Emer (Innellan Kestrel – Caragh Enya – Ard Ri Cunga, breeder and owner Tuula Pyöriä) greatgranddaughter of the aforementioned Espe Etta, and eight year old mare Cluain Caoilfhionn (Symphatil Hazy Becks – Paradis Aniara – Kåsta Scaramouche, breeder and owner Jaana Malin), who also became Ridden Champion with Jenni Hauhia. Best foal was like at the National Show Rockfield Arctic Glow from the successful Rockfield Stud.

In 2009 the Connemara Pony Show is going to take place on 5th September, and the organizing committee has already booked the same place as last year – an equestrian center with very spacious fields to build the show ring, and with extremely helpful people to arrange all practicalities. As it will be the 25th Anniversary Jubilee Show, some special programme including jumping and dressage classes are planned. The former CPBS president Tom MacLochlainn will judge the show.

finnish4Other plans for the year include Stallion Parade in May, breeders’ get-togethers, seminars etc. Please keep an eye on the coming events on the Finnish Connemara Pony Society website.

It might be also worthwhile to have a look at Finnish breeders’ websites (links can be found on the society website) and the society sales list. If you are looking for quality youngstock you might find one in Finland!

Legendary ponies like Cocum Tiger Moth (by Tiger Gill), Ard Ash Grove (by Ard Harka) and Gaelic Silver Mist (by Rosenaharley Cormac) among others established the reputation of Connemara ponies as great performers in Finland in 70’s and 80’s. Today’s stars like Glodbles v. Graaf Janshof (by Carna Gold) and Park Benjamin (by Ashfield Festy) at national level in showjumping and Floora’s Farfadet (by Frederiksminde Hazy Marvel) in dressage keep the Connemara pony flag flying with many others who compete successfully at regional level.


Connemaras at Equitana, Germany 2009

Connemara Ponys at the Equitana 2009

Invited by the German Welsh Pony society the German Connemara Pony Vereinigung e.V. had taken the chance to participate for some days at the Equestrian Sports World Fair in March in Essen Germany. Only held every 2 years it is the main fair for many horse friends around the world. More than 200000 visitors came this year to this event from 14th to 22nd of March.

For 3 days the Welsh Pony society shared their exhibitor space with us and we had our own booth in hall 2 the Pony hall we promoted the Connemara Pony. Furthermore for the 3 days we had 1 stable where we put a pony to show to the visitors. Having a Pony directly beside our place attract many people. Particular the children enjoyed very much that the could easily go into the box of our stallion Groken Gun and had fun. He perfectly demonstrated the kindness of the Connemara Pony to the visitors.

On Friday 20th of March it was the day of the Pony. On that day we had the chance to participate in the show rings. We have been proud to present in the show rings 3 very well know stallions: Frederiksminde Hazy Marvel from the Kinzighausen stud, Glaskopf Golden Malcolm from the Kinzighausen stud and Marvellous Simon from the Crystal stud. What a picture 3 excellent stallions in great shape and perfect riders in the big main show ring and later in several smaller rings in various halls. What an advertisement for our breed. Many new contacts have been made during this days and we could introduce the Connemara Pony to many new people.

Children having fun with Groken Gun From left to right: Marvellous Simon with owner Claudia Quasnitza Glaskopf Golden Malcolm with rider Christina Eckert Frederiksminde Hazy Marvel with owner Sissi Wirth Timmy Kreuzer Connemara Pony Vereinigung e.V.

Photo 1: Children having fun with Groken Gun From left to right: Marvellous Simon with owner Claudia Quasnitza Glaskopf Golden Malcolm with rider Christina Eckert
Photo 2: Frederiksminde Hazy Marvel with owner Sissi Wirth
Photo 3: Timmy Kreuzer Connemara Pony Vereinigung e.V.

CPBS Spring Festival 26-29 March 2009

Stallion Parade
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Stallion Inspections
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All images by Satu Pitkänen. Do not use without permission

Newsletter February 2009

An Rugha Is Fearr

DENMARK: The Danish Connemara pony Society will this year celebrate its 45th Anniversary. An inspection of ponies and a Connemara show will be held on 31/7/09 at Bornholm and on 1st and 2nd August an inspection and show will be held on Zealand.

Last year the Danish Stallion Ravnsholt Diablo (Laerkens Callaghan) was exported to Ireland. In return, Glencarrig Fionn (Castlestrange Fionn) and Lissroe Hurricane ( Gun Smoke) became residents in Denmark.

The Danish Society’s AGM will be held on 14th March on Zealand and in April and June Agricultural shows for young ponies of all breeds will be held throughout Denmark.

AUSTRALIA: A part bred Connemara mare Garnet Kailah (Glenormiston Thady – warm blood mare) has really let the cat amongst the pigeons in the harness world down here. Kailah began her career as a harness pony at Easter 2008. She has been performing extremely well. Her owner/driver David Rozynski recently took her to her first “real” harness show in Stanthorpe to see how she performed, both in serious competition and with the pressure of lots of vehicles, people everywhere, loudspeakers and so on.

feb2009David’s first impression was “what the hell am I doing here?” The first competitors he saw was the Australian champion harness driver and owner, Vince Corvi, along with his Australian winning Hackneys and the gleaming Viceroys that they squire around the arenas. Vince is, amongst other things, the EFA National Show driving coach. After the initial shock he reminded himself why he came and began the work of preparing Kailah.

The upshot was that David and Kailah took out the Champion harness horse/pony, beating Mr. Corvi and another top line combination. As David stated – “Go the Connies!” Kailah and David are now preparing for the 2009 Australian combined driving championships to be held at “Witwood” Canberra this Easter. The first day of the competition will be the anniversary of the mare being put to harness.

Connemaras can do anything – and better than most!

IRELAND: The MIDLAND CONNEMARA PONY BREEDERS GROUP AGM. recently saw the following officers elected for 2009:

  • Chairman – Eddie Fleming
  • Vice Chairman – John Moran
  • Secretary – Mary Rabbit
  • Treasurer – John Durkin
  • PR officer – Ruth Rogers.

Ruth will provide the ICCPS with information of show results, Connemara information and generally keep us informed of events and happening within the Midland group’s domain. Ruth is working on trying to obtain DVD or video access for the ICCPS on the video that I showed in Clifden many years ago entitled “The Irish Pony – Return of a Native” .

Ruth is also, as you know, Editor of “An Capaillin”. Incidentally, I have seen the copy of the new “An Capaillin”, It is a beauty, probably the best yet and something for everyone. Try to get your copy as soon as they are released, you will not be disappointed.

Well, first attempt at a new format. One photo per mail so should be easier to handle. Hope you enjoy. Say if you do not!

Regards to all John Tennant


The Word Has Got Around

With apologies to Banjo Patterson and The man from Snowy River!

The past decade has seen the Connemara Pony being used to a greater degree as a performance pony in Australia with both the Pure bred and Part breds competing in various pony and open disciplines. Not only are these ponies performing well but in many cases they are out classing many of their opponents of all breeds. Below are just a few of these ponies that are competing throughout Australia with great credit to the breed and their owners and riders.

STRICKLAND PARK JO’S REBEL – Greenhills Rebel – Ballantrae Jaffa This Stallion Pony has competed whilst performing Stud Duties for a number of years. “Rebel” has competed in Ridden, Dressage, Hunter, Combined and Show jumping.

He has taken the Ridden Connemara class at the Melbourne Royal from 2003 – 2007. He won the 2005 – 2007 Ridden Mountain and Moorland class at the Melbourne Royal.
In 2005 he won the prodigious Barastoc Ridden Saddle Stallion class and went on in 2007 to take out the Barostoc Ridden Show Hunter Mountain and Moorland section.

He had dominated the APSB (Australian Pony Stud Book) shows with best performed Mountain and Moorland and Best Show Hunter classes winning each event from 2004 – 2007.
“Rebel” received a bad leg injury in 2007 and has not competed since that date. He has a son “Strickland Park Duke” who is now showing the same qualities as his Sire in both dressage and Show Jumping. “Rebel” is based in Victoria.

CAPPARIS HIGH ROLLER , a pure bred gelding (Domo Cavallo Praize – Glengarry Patsy Malone (Abbeyley Finbar) is performing extremely well in Dressage and was the 2007 Official Dressage pony of the year. In 2008 he was awarded the State Pony Club Elementary Championship and also reserve Champion Official Elementary Pony of the year. “Roller” is owned and ridden in Queensland.

NOWEDDIE NICHOLAS – ( GI Clanaboy O’Neill –Rainey Island Jo) is another Connemara pony that is performing well in the Dressage field. In 2008 he was awarded the National Pony Preliminary Dressage Champion and the National Pony Novice Dressage reserve Champion ship ribbons.

RIVERDELL PARK CAPELLA – (Glenormiston Slipper – Colaur Colleen) has been performing extremely well at Pony Club events. In 2008 the mare was awarded the PC Zone Showjump and Equitiation Championships – 1st in both 17 – 26 yrs Equitation rounds, Champion 17 – 26 yrs Equitation, 1st in all thee classes of Pony and Galloway Showjumping, Champion Pony and Galloway Showjumping. Together with the above, the mare was awarded 4 State Pony Club medals from 4 appearances in Show jumping and combined training. Not bad for just one years activities! But of course, she is a Connemara so what else would you expect!

Both Nicholas and Capella are Queensland based.

Finally – the classic performance!

GLENORMISTON CONNAUGHT – (Domo Cavallo Praize – Glenormiston Fionnuala) a 6 year old gelding recently arrived in South Australia and is resident at the Dawkins Stud and being ridden by Alice Dawkins.

On his arrival Connaught had very little training and had an adversity to the jumping game as Alice quickly found out. Connaught’s training went to back basics and in a short time he quickly indicated that he had considerable ability in the performance field.

His first appearance was at the All breeds Ridden Show in Gawler South Australia on 25th January 2009. This was Connaught’s first ever outing. The results speak for themselves:

First place ;
Led overheight Connemara

Ridden Overheight Connemara Best presented Horse and Handler Champion Ridden Connemara. Open Galloway 14 – 15hh
Pony Club Mount 14 – 15hh Champion Pony Club Mount.

Second Place:

Rider 12 – 16 yrs
Pony Club rider 12 – 16 yrs Ridden Pleasure hack Maiden Galloway 14 – 15hh Galloway 14.2 – 15hh.

At the Mt Crawford Dressage Club meeting 28/2/09

1st Junior class EFA test 1,1 with 66.6% Third Junior Class for EFA test 1.4

Strathalbyn Dressage 1/03/09

3rd Open class test EF 1.3 and 4th EFA test 1.1

At Black Hill Pony Club Eventing 15/3/09

7th PC grade 4 event.

At Reynella Horse Trials and competing with open company riders and horses, in a class of 25 competitors – placed 3rd dressage, clear Show jumping, and because of his experience, a quite cross Country where he finished without penalty Placed 9th overall.

The combination heads to Naracoorte 17th May for the Naracoorte One day event and then in June to Monarto, One day event. I for one will be interested in the results from these two Events.

Once again this indicates the ability of the Connemara pony to compete extremely well in the Performance arenas, and given the right training and with a competent rider, the combination can and usually does perform equally well as, and in fact better than, most other competitors. Which of course, we Connemara owners and breeders have know for a long time. As the heading states – the word has got around… !


Blue Eyed Cream Ponies


by Sorrel Lambton (BHSAI . ICES)

Fundamental Genetics

Horse coat colour genetics is an interesting, complicated, and sometimes confusing subject! As more research is carried out we gain a greater understanding as to how, why, and where some of the more unusual coat colours stem from. This is a simplified explanation, which I hope will dispel some of the myths surrounding foals born with unusual coat colours. A horse possesses 32 pairs of chromosomes in each cell, which carries unique information from generation to generation. Both the stallion and the mare’s genetic contribution is equal. When conception takes place genes are not lost or diluted in any way but combined. Horses can be described as either:

HETEROZYGOUS: means the horse possess two forms of a particular gene encoding some inheritable characteristic, which may therefore produce offspring differing from their parents and each other in that characteristic. These horses possess one masking gene (the dominant gene) and one hidden gene (the recessive gene). Because the recessive gene is hidden the horse will appear exactly like a homozygous horse.

HOMOZYGOUS: means the horse has two identical genes at the same place on two corresponding chromosomes. When a homozygous dominant horse is bred to a recessive horse (which by definition is always homozygous), all progeny will look like the homozygous dominant parent, but unlike the parent they will be a carrier (heterozygous) for the recessive gene.

The phenotype (outward coat colour appearance) can be the same with two horses but their genotype (genetic makeup and the information carried by the genes in the cells) can differ. Because the recessives are unknown it can be difficult to determine the outcome of coat colour. Unless we know the birth colour of the sire and dam and understand the reasons why a coat colour occurs the resulting foal colour will be difficult to determine. The only 100% reliable decision is to have a blood test or hair sample test to confirm the genetic makeup of each parent to eliminate guess work and so the ‘chance factor’.

Base colours (C+C+)

There are only two basic coat colours, black (fading and non fading), and red (chestnut). Black, bay, brown and chestnut are called base colours. A base coat colour can only be diluted to a single dilute (C+Ccr) to produce a buckskin (called dun in Ireland) or palomino if a diluting gene is introduced in the absence of other modifying genes. A horse of a base colour does not carry the diluting gene so can never produce a BEC. For example if you bred a BEC mare to a bay or brown stallion the foal will be buckskin. If the same BEC mare is bred to a chestnut the foal will be 100% palomino every time. In general lighter colours are dominant over darker colours. Red (chestnut) is the most recessive colour followed by black. Light bay is dominant over bay, which is dominant over brown, which in turn is dominant over black. All other coat colours are determined by the addition, alteration or absence of these base colours.

Sometimes a horse looks black but in reality is the darkest form of buckskin and so is classified as a single dilute. Unless this horse tests negative for the BEC gene you may have a surprise when breeding!


Buckskin and Palomino are called single dilutes (C+Ccr) and each carry the diluting gene that can produce a BEC.

Dun (DD) and Buckskin (C+Ccr) compared

*The term dun used in Ireland is called a buckskin in other countries.

*There is a difference between the genetic makeup of a dun and a buckskin.
*A buckskin is denoted by the symbol C+Ccr and carries a single diluting gene where as a dun is denoted by the symbol DD and can never produce a BEC..
*Dun can be a breed as it can breed pure and will never produce a BEC.
*The dunning gene is dominant and affects all base colours without tending to lighten the legs or front of the face and leaves a darker mask.
*Duns have what are known as primitive markings. Failure to have a well defined dorsal stripe (a stripe along the spine extending into, and matching, the main and tail), and at least one other matching primitive marking like zebra marks on upper legs, or stripes or mottling on other parts of the body means it is not a D-genotype and more likely to be a buckskin (C+Ccr) and a carrier of the single dilute mechanism whichcan produce a BEC.
*Confusingly, some buckskins have a faint dorsal stripe – these are known as linebacked buckskins.
*Buckskins however never have primitive markings.
*Buckskin bred to buckskin or palomino, and some greys can produce a BEC.
*Buckskin is best bred to a base colour and will produce a buckskin, palomino, chestnut, bay, brown or black, depending on which base colour it is bred to – but will never breed a BEC.
*Buckskins bred from a palomino parent will often have some white hair at the base of the tail and sometimes in the main – known as frosting.
*Buckskin can never become a breed as it cannot breed true. It is only a coat colour.

Palomino genotype: C+Ccr

*A palomino like a buckskin is a single dilute. It occurs when a chestnut coat colour is diluted by the action of one diluting gene.
*A palomino should never be bred to another single dilute like buckskin or palomino.
*Palomino bred to grey can produce a BEC unless the grey tests negative for the diluting gene.

*Palomino bred to chestnut produces 50% palomino and 50% chestnut.
*Palomino bred to a base colour will produce similar coat colours like the buckskin but never a BEC. *Palomino can never become a breed for the same reasons as buckskin. It is only a coat colour.

Double dilutes, pseudo-albino CcrCcr

Blue eyed cream (BEC), cream, psuedo-albino, shiny eyes and cremello are some of the terms used in Ireland, and in other countries, to describe ponies and horses born with pinkish skin (sometimes called pumpkin), off white to cream coloured coats, and pale blue eyes that can appear pink in some light. Other less known terms include perlino, smoky cream or smoky perlino which all look similar except for subtle differences in colour due to the base colour the cream gene is acting on. The genetic mechanism (CcrCcr) which produces these coat colours is called a double dilute and can only occur when both the sire and the dam carry the Ccr gene. Sometimes the BEC has been called an albino which is completely incorrect as albinism does not exist in equines. A true albino has no skin/melanin pigment and can have hearing and sight problems. The term suedo-albino is a form of partial albinism which means they do posses pigment but not as much as other coat colours. A BEC’s eyes, just like a human with blue eyes, will be more light sensitive but no records that I have read so far report blindness. A worldwide survey was carried out in 2000 by the BEC Study Committee (email: via questionnaires to fifty-five connemara owners covering important questions like: light sensitivity, hearing, sight, melanoma, medical problems, rashes, hardiness etc. The results were nearly 100% positive with no one reporting any problems other than some of the BEC’s experiencing nose rash and slight light sensitivity with their pale eyes. Nose rash can occur from sunburn or sensitivity to irritants where any horse with a pink mussel is grazing.

Grey (GG)

Grey horses can be a very grey subject as the colour describes!
*Grey is not a true colour but rather an admixture of light and dark hairs superimposed over the horses entire body, which gradually lighten with age.
*The hair follicle of a grey horse is supposed to be, not only defective, but also not as deep-rooted in the dermis as other horses hair follicles, which is the reason why some people believe, they ‘grey out’, usually by the time they reach 6-8 years of age.
*Greys are more susceptible to melanomas, than other coat colours including BEC’s, of which 95% of cases are benign. However grey horses do suffer from gradual depigmentation usually around the eyes and mussel.
*Grey masks all other coat colours and causes many surprises in the horse-breeding world if the parents are not tested for the diluting gene.
*The birth colour of a foal whom is likely to turn grey should always be recorded as this is an indication of a foals true colour and will help determine how the horse will breed in the future. If for example a foal is born black, chestnut, bay or brown it should not carry the diluting gene and therefore will not breed a BEC foal. If on the other hand a foal is born buckskin it will carry the diluting gene and can breed a BEC foal if bred to another horse caring the dilute gene.
*If a grey shows speckled of fleabitten marks, (red speckles=chestnut; black=black; yellow=dun, buckskin, or palomino) in his coat, this is an indication of the true coat colour/birth coat colour and a guideline for breeders in choosing a correct mate.
*Every grey horse should be tested for the diluting gene CcrCcr to avoid the chance breeding of a BEC.


For the duration of the BEC ban, which spanned almost thirty years, the percentage of buckskins in the connemara breed has approximately halved, and the number of connemaras with grey coat colours has increased from approximately 50% to 70%. Black, chestnut, roan and palomino coat colours have reduced from approximately 10% to 3% since 1960.
Quote from Deidre Feely’s report of 2003:

‘The increase in the proportion of grey ponies in the population over the past few decades has been coupled by a decline in the percentage of dun, brown, black, roan and chestnut ponies. Thus, in recent years, the diversity amoung coat colour in registered Connemara Ponies has diminished’.
I have tried to be as accurate as possible in compiling and writing a simplified insight into how different connemara coat colours are achieved which I hope will give owners and breeders a greater understanding of how, or how not to, breed certain coat colours. There is a place for the BEC mare in breeding the popular buckskin (known as dun in Ireland), if the stallion is chosen wisely!

For anyone interested in exploring the subject further I suggest: *Horse colour explained by Jeanette Gower
*Wendy Bockman’s website
*Equine Colour genetics by D.P. Sponenberg

*Coat colour genetics by Dr. Ann Bowling

*Coat Colour trends in the Connemara Pony Population in Ireland by Deirdre Feely B. Agr.Sc., Patrick Brophy MVB MRCVS., and Katherine Quinn M. Agr. Sc.
*Characterisation of the Connemara Pony Population in Ireland by Deirdre Feely B. Agr. Sc., Patrick Brophy MVB MRCVS., and Katherine Quinn M. Agr. Sc.

Test to detect the Blue Eyed Gene

It is now possible to have your connemara pony tested in Ireland for the BEC gene through Weatherbys Ireland DNA Laboratory at the Irish Equine Centre, Naas, Co. Kildare. The cost for this service is €30.00 per animal which will be significantly reduced pending negotiations with the Connemara Pony Breeders Society based on future testing of the entire foal crop. The test usually takes between two to three weeks but they will facilitate urgent requests if necessary. Simply ring Laura on 045-875521 or email her on: with the breeding of your connemara pony.

Copyright Sorrel Lambton 2009