THE HISTORY OF THE CONNEMARA PONY IN SOUTH AFRICA
Keirin of Leam by Sean of Leam out of Teresa of Leam, arrived in Zimbabwe in September 1968 imported by Miss Worthington in Zimbabwe. Keirin’s son Dundrum (CPS 800) born 1976, out of Coromandel Abbeyline (CPS 8118) bred by Sydney Press was subsequently acquired by Christine Walwyn. Both were inspected by Donal Kenny in 1985 and registrant with the Irish Connemara Society.
In 1978 Milford Hurricane (CPS 568) (Mervyn Bowsprit – Mervyn Silver Grey) and Crockaun Connemara (also known as Croc on Oir, by the Fugitive – Silver Lace) were purchased for the Lesotho National Stud as the result of a project undertaken by Donal Kenny on behalf of the Irish Government in consultation with the Lesotho Government. The aim of the project was to conserve and improve the Basotho Pony upon whom the Basotho farmers relied heavily as a means for transport. As a result of the Boer War thousands of their best bred stock was lost and the Basotho Pony breed was sadly depleted. The Irish Government donated two stallions, Milford Hurricane and Croc an Oir. They were taken to the Lesotho National Stud at Thaba Tseka.
At the same time, in Clarens (South Africa) on the Lesotho Border, Christine Walwyn’s first Connemara Pony Abbeyleix Tansey (CPS 3103) Carna Dun-Pretty Molly) dam of the Cornmandel Abbeyline was purchased by her from Sydney Press. Abbeyline and her daughter Keirina (CPS 119) were given to Mrs Walwyn by Mrs Worthington when Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) was experiencing difficult times. They travelled to safety to South Africa with the stallion Dundrum (CPS 800) these four ponies became the foundation of the Ashgar Stud whose aim was to provide children’s ponies for all disciplines. Later Mrs Walwyn leased Croc an Oir from the Basotho Pony Stud. After a perilous journey through the Lesotho Mountains he arrived safely at the Ashgar Stud where he sired Ashgar Doo Gary, Ashgar Donegal and Ashgar Karralee. These three ponies brought new bloodlines to the Ashgar Stud.
At last all three of the original bloodlines imported from different sources at different times and so widely came together at Ashgar Stud in the Free State.
Today, Ashgar Doo Gary and Ashgar Donegal are near retirement age and are resident at Ashgar Stud in Clarens. Ashgar has been represented in the junior showing and eventing teams throughout South Africa.
KILSHANE IRISH SPORT HORSE STUD, CAPE TOWN
In 1998 Ian and Bea Hurst moved to the Western Cape South Africa. They brought with them two stallions, Kilshane Clover (Irish Draught) and Kilshane Christopher Robin (1997 Connemara). The stud is now firmly established on their farm in the Franschoek district, where the broodmares and weanlings are kept. They currently breed with their two stallions and do not make use of imported semen. Kilshane Christopher Robin stands in Gauteng where he competes regularly in showing and eventing. He has won the Connemara Working Riding championship in 2010 as well as the In-hand Championship for Connemaras at the Horse of the Year Show in 2009.
Christopher Robin’s dam won several show classes, whilst his sire was winner of the 1993 and 1994 performance test programme run by the Irish Government. Christopher Robin’s pedigree shows the presence of bay lines, important in keeping hard colours and avoiding blue-eyed creams. He also shows the typical characteristics of his breed, having a super temperament, intelligence, hardiness, and good jumping ability. He has part-bred foals competing in the Cape, Free State and Gauteng areas of South Africa.
MILLSLEIGH IRISH SPORT HORSE AND PONY STUD, LADYBRAND, FREE STATE
Since 2005 Millsleigh Irish Sport Horse and Pony Stud has been a breeder and producer of quality young Sport Horses of Irish Draught lines (Stallions: Kinvara’s Etherow Impasse and Gleneagle Rebel) with proven Thoroughbred sport horses from Eventing, Show Jumping, Dressage and Polo disciplines. The foundation mares were and continue to be selected for their temperament, athleticism and proven record. Progeny are now aged between 9 months (including a surviving twin filly) and 5 years. After critical review of the mares’ strengths and weaknesses, the Kinvara, Ashgar and Kilshane stallions were chosen to compliment the mares’ temperaments, conformation and to add height, substance and quality. All progeny were bred by Artificial Insemination to Irish Draught and Connemara stallions based in other parts of the country which presents many logistical challenges. The strategy of the stud is to breed and produce Eventers, Working Hunters and Working Hunter Pony stars of the future with added social, easy going temperaments.
Ashgar Cruising a young stallion now five-years-old is the resident foundation stallion at the Millsleigh Irish Sport and Pony Stud (owned by Dipereng Equestrian Services) near Ladybrand in the Free State Province. 2011-12 is his first breeding season, with two pure-bred Ashgar mares by Dundrum, Ashgar Felipe and Gaymaree and several thoroughbred mares. We are looking forward to seeing his first pure and part-bred progeny during the next years. He is currently lunging and has been backed. He has shown very successfully locally in hand, being placed first and champion at Ashgar’s winter show as a three-year-old and first place at the Welsh Society’s Summer Show in Johannesburg in 2010. He will make his first national show debut at the Horse of the Year show in 2012.