While the days are getting shorter and shorter and the nights longer and longer the competition season is drawing to an end. A look at the present top 100 for dressage ponies in Sweden shows Backens Lotus (by Rolls Royce out of Princess Jasmin) in 10th place. This pony has had a very successful season among the ponies 130 – 140 cm high, crowning it with a silver medal at the Swedish Championships.
In place 16th is Lotus’ half brother Ragnarps Little Royce (out of Bolle Lusona). He’s another of the many talented dressage ponies sired by the Elite stallion Rolls Royce. Rolls Royce’s full brother Juno Rory sadly had to be put down this autumn. In the 90ies Juno Rory had a most successful dressage career being among the very best dressage ponies in Sweden for a decade, and that with a succession of riders. His legacy is now carried on by his son, the approved stallion Golden Garlic (out of Ambrosia) who is presently ranked in place 93 on the dressage ranking. Another family connection comes through Rolls Royce’s and Juno Rory’s half brother Janus. His son Pyramus (out of Olympia II) is presently ranked in 28th place.
Other closely related dressage ponies on the top 100 are the descendants of another Elite stallion, Brantshammar Bell Dara. Bell Dara himself was a successfully show jumper in his heydays and has sired many jumping ponies, but he is also the grand father of two dressage ponies in the top 100: Tic Tac (by Countach Campbell out of Ko ̈hls Rapsodi) in place 58 and the mare Ko ̈hls Fidolina (by Shirley’s Thunderbell out of Hagens Ellina) in place 84.
There are also three Connemara partbreds among the top 100. Highest ranking is Chopin AM who’s maternal grandsire is the Danish Connemara stallion Tootle U. Another pony with a Connemara maternal grandsire is the riding pony stallion Verdi (grandsire Lofty Roderic). This pony has had a very successful dressage career, but it was sadly announced this autumn that he now has to retire from competing due to an old injury from an accident. The third partbred is Poetic Poetry. His sire is Poetic Justice, perhaps best known for his show jumping offspring but apparently also capable of siring good dressage ponies.
This year’s Connemara championships in dressage and show jumping where held in Au- gust. The stallion Frederiksminde Hazy Chance had a successful championship with his son Hagens Cheese (out of Hagens Smile) winning the class for adult riders and overheight ponies and his daughter Bellina (out of Belle II) winning the class for ponies ridden by riders under 18. Second to Bellina was Hagens Sheila (by Tulira Highball out of Ha- gens Nelina) with Elphins Darwin (out of Bolle Dafti), another of Rolls Royce’s dressage progeny, in third place.
Pony eventing has had a slow year in Sweden this year, but for the Connemara enthusi- ast the Swedish championships could not have ended better as the grand old pony and approved stallion Nice-n-Curly (out of Corinne II) was the one to win the gold. Nice-n- Curly’s sire is another Elite stallion, Nice-n’-Easy, known for his performance offspring. Nice-n-Curly has evented successfully with several riders from the same family of siblings and has previously competed in the European eventing Championships.
One of the most popular show jumping competitions for ponies in Sweden is the Ridsport Pony Cup. After qualifiers across the country the most successful ponies meet in the final. This year the 130 – 140 cm height category was won by Desdemona (by Brolo ̈tens Joop out of Ti-Ti-Oo) who has repeatedly been in the ribbons throughout the season and is presently in second place in the Swedish show jumping ranking. Fourth behind Desdemona in the Ridsport Pony Cup finals was another Swedish-bred Connemara, Poetic Annie (by Poetic Justice out of Myrens Anitra). Annie was reserve for the Swedish team at the Nordic-Baltic championships and also came fourth at the Swedish show jumping championships. Annie is presently ranked 24.
At the European show jumping championships half the Swedish team was mounted on Connemara ponies: the French-bred Idefix du Villon (by Quignon du Parc out of Hilda des Ludes) who is presently in third place in the top 100 pony showjumpers and the Irish- born Some Man for One Man (by Ashfield Bobby Sparrow out of Misty Maiden) who is presently ranked number 50. Other Irish and French Connemaras are also doing well at the Swedish show jumping scene. From France we have Ice and Fire d’Albran (by Dexter Leam Pondi out of Underline of Laps) in place 13, Lover de Vauper (by Thunder du Blin out of Daphne de la Dive) in 44th place and Ix de l’Aulne (by Dexter Leam Pondi out of Castille de l’Aulne) ranked 51. From Ireland comes Lexus Justice (by Westside Fred out of Dunamoney Lass) now in 19th place, Sceilig Siofra (by Deise Sam Maguire out of Gentle Jessie) in number 25, Hesperus Eagle (by Ashfield Jovial Joker out of Ashfield Spinks) in number 47, the partbred Tullineaskey Fear Ideas (by Templebready Fear Bui) in 53rd place and the up and coming Drumcong Finn (by Seafield Fionn out of Westside Lady) who has done very well during the autumn and is now in 62nd place, definitely one to look out for next season. Among the imported Connemaras is also the Swiss-born Little Finnigan de la Praz (by Leam Finnigan out of Little Witch) who in 6th place is the third highest ranked Connemara after a very strong season where he most recently won the Swedish Indoor championships in show jumping for ponies. At the same championships Lexus Justice was fourth and Ix de l’Aulne was sixth among ponies 140 – 148 cm while among the ponies 130 – 140 cm (where Little Finnigan won) Tullineaskey Fear Ideas was fifth and Desdemona was ninth.
But there are not only imported Connemaras doing well in show jumping in Sweden. In addition to the already mentioned Desdemona and Poetic Annie the latter has no less than four half-siblings among the 100 most successful show jumpers: the pure bred Poetic Moonlight (by Poetic Justice out of Lehid Vida) in place 28 and Highlander (out of Gryt ̊asa Kryddan) in place 32, and the partbreds Little Wonder (who was placed sixth at the indoor championships) in place 36 and Poetic Shano in number 90. Also the last two Swedish-bred Connemaras on top 100 are closely related to each other. Both the partbred Hip Hop in place 31 and the pure bred Scarlett Pimpernell S (out of Yankie Girl) in place 66 are by the same stallion, Pommac.
Connemara riders have also battled it out for the Connemara championship title in show jumping. Among the overheight ponies and adult riders the title was won by Nice-n’- Cherry (by Carnaby Patrick Hooligan out of Dory-Nice). The class for ponies with riders under 18 saw O ̈nnarps Juvel (by Aladdin out of Celisia) winning the title to the Dutch import Junes Jewel van de Zonnehoeve (by Hercules van de Zonnehoeve out of June) and Juventus (by Dale Haze out of Jocelinn).
The young pony activities has also continued during the autumn. Two stallions have two progeny each who have gained awards at the three-year-old tests: Coosheen Finbarr (two for gaits) and Hagens D’Arcy (two double awards, gaits and jumping). Finbarr and Hagens D’Arcy also have progeny who have gained awards at the quality tests for four- year-olds. Other stallions who’s progeny have gained awards in both three-year-old and quality tests this year are Ashfield Cathal Crobhdearg and Hagens O’Chief.
At the young pony finals several Connemaras showed their knack for jumping. Among the three-year-olds Holmtebo Yeats (by Hagens D’Arcy out of Hagens Yanine) took the third place in the jumping finals. The Connemaras in the jumping finals for four-year-olds did better still when Yeats’s half-brother Holmtebo Crested Ten (out of Hagens Ultra) won the class to the stallion Poetic Kelly (by Poetic Justice out of Lofty Dusty Rambler). The young pony championships in jumping for five-year-olds saw a Connemara in third place, Pole Position (out of Moy Shauna Pride) who is by the above-mentioned dressage stallion Golden Garlic, but is not lacking in jumping skills.
Three five-year-olds and two six-year-olds had qualified to the dressage finals, a strong achievement in itself. Although the five-year-olds were unplaced the six-year-olds defended the Connemara honour. Azalea (by Frederiksminde Hazy Chance out of Liljeg ̊ardens Graze) won the finals with another Connemara in third place, Gra ̈ns Tabasco (by Grange Flynn Sparrow out of Gra ̈ns Tussilago). For Tabasco it’s the third year running of qual- ifying to the young pony finals. It will be interesting to see him and the other ponies in the dressage and show jumping arenas in the future.