Finnish News, spring 2010

news_finland_5-2010_img_0Inspection of pony stallions in Finland was arranged by Finlands Hippos on April 17th & 18th at Ypäjä Equestrian Centre. Almost 50 stallions, mostly Shetlands, were inspected during the weekend. From five presented Connemara stallions one was approved as class 1 stallion. He was a three year old Halle Lafferty bred by Ingrid Hallengård in Sweden and owned by Susanna Rahikainen.

Lafferty is by young very successful sire Coosheen Finbarr, who got his Premium A for the quality of his offspring this spring, only 9 years of age! Lafferty’s dam is Lofty Hazy Rambler by Frederiksminde Hazy Chance.

news_finland_5-2010_img_1Another stallion, this time bred by Susanna Rahikainen, has been successful in Austria. 14-year old Symphatil Hazy Bucks was sold as a young pony to Susanna’s friend, who moved to Switzerland and took the pony with her. Hazy Bucks was inspected and approved for breeding there few years ago. Now the pony is sold to Sabrina-Michaela Honeder in Austria where he was also

approved for breeding with good marks. Hazy Bucks is by Frederiksminde Hazy Marvel and out of Downhill Shawndelle by Kåsta Scaramouche. He has a half brother Symphatil Hazy Becks in Finland.

news_finland_5-2010_img_2Two year old Caragh Gaoithe was exported to Canada in the spring. Gaoithe is by Innellan Kestrel who was leasad to Finland by Tuula Pyöriä. His dam is Innellan Gem (by Glencarrig Lexus) and the breeder is Tuula Pyöriä. Gaoithe was Junior Champion as well as Reserve Supreme Champion as a yearling at the Breed Show in 2009, judged by Tom MacLochlainn. Gaoithe’s new owner is Heather Sherratt of Elphin Mountain Connemaras, Ontario.

Swedish Stallion Inspection 2010

Colt inspection in Sweden

Tuula Pyöriä, Finland, Padraig Hynes, Ireland and Håkan Erlandsson from Sweden were the team of judges to look through this year’s colts in for inspection.

Erinmore Golden Marble

Erinmore Golden Marble

Four three year old, three four year old and one five year old colt were shown to the judges. Out of the eight colts two were passed. Erinmore Golden Marble, a four year old whom has won a Best in Show last summer and he won the Championship for three year old ponies, all pony breeds, for his movement.

Erinmore Golden Marble was born 2006 with his owner Susanne Leijonhufvud and Pierre Glad in Valbo, Sweden and is out of Öxenholm Marble JR RC 61and the dam is Glaskopf Grey Joanna DE21994 who is by Fr

edriksminde Hazy Marvel DEN 68. He is born dun but is going grey and measures 146 cm, 20 cm cannon bone. The judges gave him 9 for type, 8 for head, neck and body, 8 for his limbs, 8 for his walk, 8 for his trot and canter. In his performance loose jumping he was awarded two sevens.2010_sweden_colt_inspection_img_22010_sweden_colt_inspection_img_1

Number two to pass the inspection was the five year old grey XL Broderick, a son of Coosheen Finbarr RC 99, his first group of offspring in Sweden. Finbarr himself being awarded on the Saturday with the letter of value A for his good progeny in the show ring.

XL Broderick’s mother is Moyode Aisling RC IRE 8358, a super performance pony herself. Her sire is Grange Finn Sparrow IRE 659, top of the list’s stallion in Ireland. XL Broderick was given so many words of appreciation for his ride ability and way of jumping the poles, for his temperament and paces.

Line, XL Broderick and his test rider Örn

XL Broderick and his test rider Örn

His figures was, three nines for jumping, his paces were, 8 for walk, 7 for trot, 8 for canter and 8 for temperament being ridden and the test rider gave him three sevens, ridden paces, temperament and ability. For his exterior he was given 40 points out of 50. XL Broderick is bred and owned with Dan-Axel Danielsson.2010_sweden_colt_inspection_img_4

Text written by Kristina Blad, photos taken by Lina Åkerberg and Kristina Blad

Swedish News, spring 2010

Stallion news

Springtime means stallion inspections and this year’s Swedish inspections were held the weekend of 20 – 21 March. The new approved stallions have already been presented elsewhere. Coosheen Finbarr (by Glencarrig Prince out of Scarteen Mistral) had a good weekend at the inspections and in addition to having his first son approved he was also awarded an A premium at the age of just nine, for the good conformation of his offspring. Another stallion to be awarded his A premium this spring was Ashfield Cathal Crobdhearg (by Ormond Oliver out of Ashfield Lor Sparrow) who has also proved to sire good quality offspring.

More sobering news reached us earlier this year when the stallion Kilpatrick Fionn (by Abbeyleix Fionn out of Moorland Juliet) had to be put down due to melanoma. This stallion has had a rather short but brilliant show jumping career in Sweden crowning it with participating in the European show jumping championships in 2005. Sadly he has not had time for breeding due to his commitments as a show jumper and it was a cruel twist of fate that his owners had planned to use him for breeding this year. But it was not to be and there will be no foals by this nice stallion in Sweden.


Summing up last years dressage results there are Connemaras right up fighting with the very best. The Connemara taking the most dressage competition points for 2009 was the gelding Backens Lotus (by Rolls Royce out of Princess Jasmin) who finished on a creditable overall 4th place with a large number of wins on a national level and several placings in Elite competitions. Another of Rolls Royce’s offspring to make the top 100 was Lotus II (out of Lorette V) and Rolls Royce had no less than eight offspring winning dressage points during 2009, most of them born in the 00-ies, so we can surely expect to see his sons and daughters in the dressage arena for many years to come.

Figure 1: Coosheen Finbarr (by Glencarrig Prince out of Scarteen Mistral), new A pre- mium stallion. Photo: Jenny Hagenblad

Figure 1: Coosheen Finbarr (by Glencarrig Prince out of Scarteen Mistral), new A pre- mium stallion. Photo: Jenny Hagenblad

Rolls Royce’s full brother Juno Rory (by Rory Ruadh out of Brantshammar Julie) was in his heydays one of Sweden’s most successful dressage ponies taking several successive riders to the highest national level. Like Kilpatrick Fionn competing meant little time for breeding duties, but one of his few sons, the approved stallion Golden Garlic (out of Ambrosia) has followed in his sired footsteps and was another one to make the top 100 in the dressage rankings. A final little connection to Rory Ruadh is the part bred Chopin AM, bred in Denmark and number 21 among the dressage ponies in Sweden last year, and the highest ranking part bred. His maternal grandsire is the Connemara stallion Tootle U who is another son of Rory Ruadh.

Another successful dressage sire is V ̈arnbergs Orion who has three offspring on the top 100 dressage ponies. The highest ranking of them is the mare Hagens Rosmara (out of Hagens Andora) who is 12th in the dressage ranking for ponies of all breeds. She is another one to have had a very successful year 2009 including competing at the international horse show at Falsterbo. Sadly her rider is now too old for competing in pony competitions, but what a fine year to finish off their career together. Rosmara’s two half brothers to also make the top 100 were Olbiz Tellus (out of Twilight) and Hagens Qumulus (out of Hagens Fondora) and Orion has another two sons taking dressage points in 2009.

Figure 2: Rolls Royce (by Rory Ruadh out of Brantshammar Julie) in 2006 at the age of 26. Sire of many dressage Connemaras in Sweden. Photo: Jenny Hagenblad

Figure 2: Rolls Royce (by Rory Ruadh out of Brantshammar Julie) in 2006 at the age of 26. Sire of many dressage Connemaras in Sweden. Photo: Jenny Hagenblad

Figure 3: Lillefot (by Frederiksminde Hazy Chance) in 2006. Photo: Jenny Hagenblad

Figure 3: Lillefot (by Frederiksminde Hazy Chance) in 2006. Photo: Jenny Hagenblad


Eventing in Sweden is not attracting a huge crowd of competitors these days, and there were only two Connemaras winning competition points last year, the two stallions Grange Flynn Sparrow and Nice-n’-Curly. At the end of the year Nice-n’-Curly (by Nice-n’-Easy out of Corinne II) was the one to have accumulated more points and finished in 12th place with Grange Flynn Sparrow (by Ashfield Festy out of Grange Agnes Sparrow) a bit further down the line.

In addition to the pure breds there were also four part bred Connemaras gaining eventing points last year, with Lillefot (by Frederiksminde Hazy Chance) being the highest placed in fourth place after a successful year crowned by an individual 9th place in the European eventing championships.

Show Jumping

In the show jumping the Irish-bred Connemaras have, as always, done really well in 2009, but the most successful of the Connemaras was a French-bred, the gelding Ix de l’Aulne (by Dexter Leam Pondi out of Castille de l’Aulne) who competed internationally and crowned the season by taking a gold medal at the indoors Swedish championships.

Three Irish-bred Connemaras made the top 100 show jumping ponies this year. The highest placed of these was Lexus Justice (by Westside Fred out of Dunamoney Lass) who was 12th. During the year he competed not so much in Sweden, but he went to several international competitions and was won two classes at Freudenberg. Lexus Justice was also part of the Swedish team at the European show jumping championships. With him at the championships was another Irish-bred Connemara from the top 100 list, Some Man for One Man (by Ashfield Bobby Sparrow out of Misty Maiden). He also competed at the Nordic-Baltic championships and was placed at the Swedish championships both outdoors and indoors. The third Irish-bred Connemara on the top 100 is Sceilig Siofra (by Deise Sam Maguire out of Gentle Jessie) who had a successful year among the ponies 130 – 140 cm with team silver at the Nordic-Baltic championships and an individual bronze at the Swedish championships.

Figure 4: Poetic Annie (by Poetic Justice out of Myrens Anitra) Photo: Jenny Hagenblad

Figure 4: Poetic Annie (by Poetic Justice out of Myrens Anitra) Photo: Jenny Hagenblad

The last two Connemaras to make top 100 are both bred and born in Sweden. Desdemona (out of Ti-Ti-Oo) is by Brol ̈otens Joop who is by Finney Master (incidently also the sire of Rory Ruadh). Poetic Annie is one of the many good show jumpers sired by Poetic Justice (now in France) while her mother Myrens Anitra is by Nice-n’-Easy, another sire known for his performance offspring and also the sire of the eventing stallion Nice-n’-Curly.

The show jumping season of 2010 is already well under way and some ponies have already been out to compete internationally. The one that has done best so far is the French-bred Ice and Fire d’Albran (by Dexter Leam Pondi out of Underline of Laps) who has won both in Middelfart and Vilhelmsborg and was placed in Zwolle. The French Connemara seems to become increasingly popular (and successful) in Sweden as the top ten jumping ponies so far this year includes no less than three French-bred Connemaras. In addition to Ice and Fire you will also find Lover de Vauper (by Thunder du Blin out of Daphne de la Dive) and Idefix du Villon (by Quignon du Parc out of Hilda des Ludes). With all three having already been out competing on the international scene it will be interesting to see what happens once the European championships are approaching.

/Jenny Hagenblad

Park Benjamin successful in Finland

Park Benjamin shines in Finland


There are quite a few pure bred Connemara and part bred Connemara ponies jumping in the top pony level in Finland, the best of them even showing their back hooves to bigger horses.

park_benjamin_in_finland_img_1One of them is a beautiful fleabitten gelding Park Benjamin (G-2711), who is bred by Sandra Parkinson from Co. Kildare. His sire is Ashfield Festy (S-859), and the dam is Spanish Dancer (M-

8211) by Mervyn Pookhaun. He was imported to Finland as a 9- year-old in 2006 by Irish born trainer Eowen Earlie, who had seen a video of the gelding competing in international level in eventing.

Park Benjamin first took Emilie de la Chapelle to European Championship level, and is now jumping with 15-year old Vera Elopuro for the second and final year. Last year the pair took a number of prestigeous victories, including the Pony Final at Helsinki International Horse Show in October. This year they started the Pony Cup with a 2nd placement in Helsinki in mid- May, and the following week left for their first international competition in Sweden.

As this is the last pony year for Vera, she hopes her younger sister will continue competing with the talented gelding!

Vera Elopuro & Park Benjamin in Helsinki Pony Event / Hevoshullu Pony Cup, 15th May 2010 – arranged at Laakso Stadium, which was built for the equestrian disciplines in the 1952 Olympic Games

Originally published at


Winter News from Australia, 2010


Connemara Pony Showcase for 2010 has been and gone, and what a spectacular event it was. Typical winter in Melbourne was the order of the day for Saturday but the good lord smiled on Sunday’s event and bright sunshine reflected in the day’s events. It was fortunate that the full event was held in the magnificent indoor arenas of the Werribee Equestrian centre some 40 kms south of Melbourne.

Saturday was “Show and Tell” day with Judges Karen Spicer, Luke Dodds, Sue Tufnell and M. Kelly and Oliver Evans officiating. Sharon and Luke gave young, new and experienced owners and handlers some excellent experience on the showing of Native Ponies and the Connemara in particular. This school was very well received. The working Hunter demonstration had Sue Tufnell giving of her life time, hand on experience with all ponies being given every opportunity to learn and improve.

“Monihan Harrison”, the best showjumping Connemara in Victoria and probably Australia and his diminutive rider Carissa Baily gave a perfect demonstration of precision showjumping and this was followed by the cute 13.2hh Part bred Connemara “Smack the Pony” and his rider Katy Ryman who gave a delightful demonstration of Free Style Dressage to true Irish music.

Saturday’s crowd went away with a much better conception of the Connemara pony! Sunday brought bright sunshine to Werribee. This was action day and Saturday’s demonstrations saw a marked improvement in the presentation of all Ponies for the “In Hand” classes.

In hand classes were followed by beginners and open Working Hunter events, beginners and open sections, 6 Bar Jumping and Dressage with beginners and open classes.

Those collecting the prize money were “Ballintapper Galahad” Supreme Connemara Performance Pony 14.2hh and under. “Celtic Fairy tale” Part Bred Supreme Connemara performance Pony. Highest scoring Jumping Male Connemara – ‘Monahan Harrison”, Highest scoring Jumping female Connemara, Boonhaburra Fantail”

A number of other Pony Breed owners and presenters were evident and comments passed indicated that “Show case” had created a huge impression with comments that this type of show/presentation event must become a regular event in Australia to improve and show the native pony to their full potential.

‘Connemara Show Case” 2012 is already on the drawing boards and sponsorship has already been promised. It appears that “Show Case” has created a great impression of the wonderful Australian Connemara Pony!


Connemara Show in Finland 2010

finland_show_2010_img_0Woolpacks Sweetie Pie Supreme at Tampere

This year’s Finnish Connemara Pony Breed Show was held in Tampere, at the Teivo race track on the 10th July, with Malachy Gorham having come all the way from Kingstown Connemara Ponies in Clifden to participate as judge.

The grass had turned yellow in the past day’s heat when the day was opened with a gelding class. 5-year old Ohana Andromera (Rockfield McBurney – Aramara Eliza – Ardnasillagh O’Flaherty, breeder Hanna Koli, owner Maarit Lähteenmäki) continued his show success from last year, being chosen as the best gelding. The class was followed with the only entered stallion, so consequently 4-year-old Vanity Padraigh (Janus – Tempelisa Lady Calista – Ard Ri Cunga, breeder Jenni Virtanen, owners Laura Ovaskainen & Suvi Virtala) was Champion Stallion. He later on earned also the day’s Best Turn Out prize with his handler Annastiina Niemi.

The three mare classes’ winners were Woolpacks Sweetie Pie (Janus – Bolle Cornett – Lukas, breeder Carina Jansson, Sweden, owner Hanna Koli) in the 4-9 years old class, Leirg Seordan (Frederiksminde Hazy Marvel – Wänga Sisela – Värnbergs Orion, breeder Carina Helander, owner Saija Laine) in the 10-15 year old class, and the 16 years and over class saw Irish Dream (Öxenholm Marble Jr – Rollsinette – Rolls Royce, breeder Gun & Per Hall, Sweden, owner Susanna Rahikainen) victorious. Out of these, Woolpacks Sweetie Pie proved to be Mr Gorham’s favourite and became the Champion Mare.

finland_show_2010_img_1As most of the foals in Finland are born in May-June, only one foal was shown during the day. Five week old Zitherbay Daigh O’Hara (Atlantic Ace –

Aramara Ona O’Hara – Rockfield Scarface, breeder & owner Sari Lahtinen) proved to be quite a young rascal and earned his Champion Foal status with his energetic attitude.

Youngstock followed, with the only colt class for yearlings. Symphatil O’Malley (Ashfield Cathal Crobdhearg – Symphatil Irish Mist – Symphatil Hazy Becks, breeder & owner Susanna Rahikainen) was the best colt. Out of yearling fillies, another foal by Ashfield Cathal Crobdhearg was chosen as the class winner. Yearling dun Caragh Grian (Ashfield Cathal Crobdhearg – Innellan Gem – Glencarrig Lexus, owner & breeder Tuula Pyöriä) went on to become the Junior Champion, ahead of the colt and ahead of the two year old fillies’ winner Cleos Erin Elspeth (Cleos Antonius – Symphatil Irish Mist – Symphatil Hazy Becks, breeder Laura Ovaskainen, owner Anna Vuorinen) and three year old fillies’ winner Bellindene Latte (Garryhinch Prince – Rockmore Sable – Atlantic Swirl, breeder Mrs J. Somervail, Great Britain, owner Taija Paasilinna-Helminen).

finland_show_2010_img_2In the final ring the Champion Stallion had to give way to the female ponies, as Caragh Grian became the Best Pony Bred in Finland and the Reserve Supreme Champion. Her half brother Caragh Gaoithe (by Innellan Kestrel) took the same
titles in last year’s show, before being exported to Canada earlier this year. The Supreme Champion therefore became the
seven-year-old grey Woolpacks Sweetie Pie, to her owner’s great delight.

Woolpacks Sweetie Pie was imported to Finland a couple of years ago. She has proven to be a true, kind all-round family pony. After having tried out in Show-jumping she is now concentrating in dressage with the owner and handler Hanna Koli, and in the meanwhile is also regularly ridden by Hanna’s four-year-old daughter Peppilotta! For next year Woolpacks Sweetie Pie is in foal by Swedish stallion Hagens Ryan (Tulira Highball – Abbeyleix Flora – Sticky), who is currently on loan to Finland.

finland_show_2010_img_3At the end of the day there were two ridden classes, one for ponies smaller than 138 cm, another for bigger ponies. As the race track was shared with shows for Shetland and Welsh ponies and Norwegian fjord horses the same day, the entries were open for all the breeds. The bigger ponies class was mainly Connemara entries, and 5-year-old Rockfield Honesty showed true improvement from the show class and won the Connemara Ridden Championship with Hanna Koli. The Supreme Champion, Woolpacks Sweetie Pie, was placed 2nd. The overall Ridden Championship went, however, to the winner of the small ponies’ class, when Shetland pony mare Wilma V with a very skilled 6-year-old jockey Pinja Pohjosmäki was chosen as No.1.

Originally published at


Canadian Battle of the Breeds 2010

The team members this year were l to r: Chris Knox (K.F. Hobby), Phil Knox (K.F. Felicity), Morganne Shearer (BM Rory O’Sullivan), Ailsa Antialla, (Celtic Fyre) aka Dances with Doris

The team members this year were l to r: Chris Knox (K.F. Hobby), Phil Knox (K.F. Felicity), Morganne Shearer (BM Rory O’Sullivan), Ailsa Antialla, (Celtic Fyre) aka Dances with Doris

This year there were 12 breeds competing. The first event is always compulsory skills. Chris rode a nice test, and we all thought she was marked very harshly. Phil drove a superb test with Flicka and had the highest score of the whole event. When the scores were combined, we placed 2nd in the class.

The jumping in the afternoon was “interesting”. There were many upsets with one mule refusing to go anywhere near even the first jump, and a very small girl on a shetland taking a tumble. Ailsa had an excellent round on Fyre and opted for the jeopardy fence. Unfortunately she had a refusal which knocked 100 points from her score. 13 year old Morganne also had a very good round on Rory. There was a mis- understanding about the time allowed for taking the jeopardy fence, and she failed to take this jump. We ended up with 5th ribbon.

The obstacle driving on Friday morning is always a crowd pleaser as they think up such difficult things. Phil and Chris were at a disadvantage with a 4-wheel cart when a nasty back-up was added to the course. Both had good solid rounds, and we placed 5th in this event. I must say that the standard of driving has greatly improved over the last few years as it used to be an accident waiting to happen with untrained animals.

Barrel racing is always late on Friday in the sand ring, with a big crowd sitting in the stands and on the grass bank. Morganne had an excellent run on Rory, and Ailsa and Fyre were fantastic! The top 6 teams go into a run-off and we had our best ever finish with a 2nd. Well done Morganne and Ailsa – your practice paid off!

The trail class on Saturday is always a matter of luck, and is completely unpredictable. At this point the three contending breeds were Morgan, Quarter Horse and us. Unfortunately the normally very quiet and obedient Flicka was having an “off” day and they also missed completing the jeopardy obstacle by one second. Morganne and Rory made up for it with an excellent round which put our team in 6th place when the scores were combined.

The final result was Morgans 1st, Q.H’s 2nd and we were 3rd. Not a bad result at all and we were very close to being 2nd.

The amount of time and effort (not to mention cost) put in by our team members cannot be under- estimated, and they are surely deserving of our thanks. The exposure we receive at this event is fantastic and benefits all our breeders.

ACPS report from World Equestrian Games 2010

American Connemara Pony Society at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games
by Susan McConnell, Chair for the WEG Committee

WEG: The Alltech Experience and Impact

Until 3 years ago, Alltech was a name few people in the horse world knew, even though Alltech owns several brands of horse feed and supplements. Now, thanks to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (September 25 – October 10, 2010) in Lexington, Kentucky, the company has received brand recognition. CEO and founder Dr. Pearce Lyons has already signed a memo of understanding to be the title sponsor of the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.

WEG: By the numbers

The Chronicle of the Horse (November 5, 2010 issue) reported that there were 752 horses and 632 athletes from 58 countries who attended the 16 days of competition at WEG, 507,022 spectators, 62,707 school children and 6,000 volunteers. There were 81 medals awarded in 8 World Championships (reining, driving, dressage, eventing, show jumping, endurance, para-dressage and vaulting). NBC showed 8 hours of TV coverage over three weekends, while Universal Sports Network showed 15 hours live. The WEG’s website coverage received another 1.5 million views. The Kentucky government spent $102 million on improvements to the 1,200 acre Kentucky Horse Park. Alltech spent $10 million for the title sponsorship and another $22 million to ensure financial success. The pre-estimated economic impact of the WEG was $167 million.

These are unprecedented numbers for US horse sports.

In addition to the stadiums for the 8 World Championships, the WEG organizers set aside a large area next to the International Museum of the Horse and the Horse Park’s Visitors Center called the Equine Village and Village Arena (180’ x 200’). Spilling out into the training track and infield were individual tents for breed organizations, sporting organizations, and clinicians from all over the world. Daily, thousands of people were milling about visiting the tents and attending the continuous, free demonstrations, clinics and performances (10:00AM – 6:30PM).

The American Connemara Pony Society was in booth #30 of the Equine Village – ideally located beside the Horse Park Visitor’s Center, and booths for world renown, Irish vet, Brendan Furlong, DVM, the United States Pony Club, Goresbridge Horse Sales (Ire) and the Irish Draught Horse Society (NA).

WEG: Connemara Performers

Over the two weeks of WEG, the ACPS had 14 purebred Connemara ponies giving daily demonstrations in dressage, eventing and driving. There were stallions, geldings and mares – buckskins, greys and bays – ridden by Junior and Senior riders. The ACPS showcased the Connemara Pony as a useful, multi discipline, working pony, plus a pony that can learn “tricks” or jump a picnic table with silverware, plates and glassware! Melanie Trimper of MMT Communications (Pennsylvania) organized green jackets, navy blue and green monogrammed polo shirts, matching saddle pads and ear veils for the demonstrations. The ACPS provided these keeper items for all the riders and drivers. Many thanks to the following Connemara Pony owners and riders/drivers for bringing their ponies from “near and far”:

*Aille Coretca (Massachusetts) Lee Gregory and rider, Kate Alderfer
Conneleigh Raney McMor (Vermont), owner Ted Saggese and rider, Cailin Saggese Grey Haven Padraig MacDaire (Ohio), owner Stephanie Burk and groom, Keith C. Lewis Greystone’s Adirondack A’Herne (New York), owner Cindy Fletcher
Killian (Vermont) owner, Michele Sturm and rider, Michaela Whitty


Loughlin’s Journey (Ohio), owner Martha Slamer and groom, Sarah Slamer
*Patty’s Look At Me (Virginia) owner, Marian McEvilly and groom, Sarah McCrea Ridgetop Windy City (Virginia), owner Karen McIntyre Welch and groom, Christopher Welch Shadey Hill’s Oscea (Kentucky) Debbie Shade and rider, Sarah Kleintop
Stonybrook Belmont (California), owner Lee Webster and helper, Joan Webster
Rosemont’s Irish Abbey (Kentucky) owner, Fonda Eigel and groom, Meg Dumaine
Tricreek Greystone Riley (New York), owner Mary Lou Thall and rider, Kim Grescheck Wildwych Eclipse (California) owner, Lisa Martin and Max Gerdes and rider, Danielle Casalett Windy Hollow Lilia (Kentucky), owner Amy Plavin and rider, Katherine Short

WEG: Demonstrations in the Village Arena

Ireland is blessed with two native equines – horse size and pony size! The Irish Draught is the native Irish horse, and the Connemara Pony is a native Irish pony, named for the West of Ireland where it originated. At WEG, some of the Connemara Pony demonstration times were shared with Irish Draught horses. The demonstrations were ably narrated and commentated by an Irish Draught enthusiast, Fleur Bryan (Kentucky). Using her cheerful Irish accent, Fleur creatively engaged the crowd with relay races between the Irish Draughts and the Connemara Ponies! Lee Webster, Katherine Short, Karen Welch and Chris Knox wrote and rewrote the script for the demonstrations so each pony was included. Chris Knox (Idaho) helped “pass the baton” as the ponies out jumped and out paced the horses – usually! The driving demonstrations showed the horses and ponies beautifully presented, driving between cones and doing pirouettes. There were musical freestyle dressage demonstrations as well as Caprilli, grid jumping and show jumping over higher fences. The crowd cheered loudly and loved every minute, every day! Thanks to Katherine Short, all the ponies and people were well organized in the barn. During the demonstrations, there were volunteers (19 cheerful volunteers over 16 days) going through the stands delivering brochures from the Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society (Ireland) plus a promotional, information booklet created by Janice Meyer (Ohio) and Amy Plavin (Vermont) which included paid advertisements and the ACPS Breeders Directory. Fonda Eigel (Kentucky) was “the boots on the ground for the ACPS”.

WEG: Distinguished Visitors

Everyday brought new faces, pony stories, plus national and international dignitaries to the ACPS Booth in the Equine Village. Janice Meyer wisely created a three ring notebook “Guest Book” for people to sign with their name and address or requests for further information. Now, the public relations and promotion committee can communicate with these people. From the web, Janice ordered emerald green plastic wrist bands with the inscription “I (heart) Connemaras” and the web site It has been a tradition to collect “pins” from countries, breeds, clinicians and disciplines. The ACPS green wrist bands were a huge hit to the visiting public. The wrist bands were light weight, easy to wear and carry, eye catching and “different”. Pat Parelli had wrist bands for the first time, this year, so we were on the cutting edge!

The Irish Ambassador, living in Washington DC, His Excellency, Ambassador Michael Collins and his wife, Marie visited our booth. The day they visited was perfect timing so they could meet and chat with the Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society, Clifden, Ireland, Chair, Dermot Power, and his wife, Carmel. The two couples had never met but instantly had friends in common. Ambassador Collins chose two ACPS Foundation ties and Mrs. Collins was given a scarf.

Jane Beshear, wife of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Steve Beshear, visited our booth the next day. She was given a scarf, too, and chose a tie for her husband, the Governor. As some people may know, Jane Beshear was the successful rider of Mary Beth Fleming’s gelding, Shammer Sandman, in many eventing competitions.

Niamh Philbin, Secretary for the Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society, Clifden, Ireland, flew over to volunteer her help in the booth. The ACPS appreciated her extra hands. Undoubtedly, Niamh has some pleasant memories and stories to share!


Heather Dean Wright of the Ard Stud in Co. Westmeath, Ireland and the seller of the capable eventing stallion, *ArdCeltic Art, to Donna Miller, came to our demonstrations.
Dan James, of “Double Dan” fame began his trick riding career at Sue Clarke’s, Glenormiston Farm in Australia. While growing up at Sue’s, Dan broke her stallion, *Castle Baron (aka “Henry”), to do theatrical tricks on command.

And, Irishman Dr. Pearce Lyons and his wife, Deirdre, were given a tie and scarf from the ACPS.
So many visitors had happy, positive stories to share! The Connemara Pony was known to many Americans, Canadians, and Europeans. It was great to see old friends and make new friends.

WEG: Keep the momentum going

The question now – for US riders, leaders of national organizations and breed affiliates – is what will these numbers mean in the future? It may take many years to know if the increased exposure brings more people as fans, competitors, owners or breeders. It appears that the visibility and overall popularity of horse sports have changed as a result of the Games.

There is nothing like the World Equestrian Games! The Olympics pale compared to these Games. Unlike the Olympics, at the WEG, there are no other sports. The horse is the focus at the World Equestrian Games. The horse brought all those people together. Everyone wanted to see, learn, or talk about “The Horse” – all breeds, all disciplines.

Somewhere back in the caveman days, someone got on the back of a horse. And, the human and the horse have been partners ever since. Depending on its conformation, temperament and athletic ability, the horse has learned to jump (show jumping), pull (driving), slide (reining), go long distances (endurance), move gracefully (vaulting, dressage and para-dressage) or combine most of these attributes (eventing). At the World Equestrian Games, the “Best of the Best”, from all over the world, compete and remind us what a special animal “The Horse” really is. Mark your calendar for 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. Don’t miss the next World Equestrian Games. The Connemara Pony should be part of the breed demonstrations showing the world that this pony breed “Can Do It All”.

WEG: Gratitude

As overall Chair for the ACPS at WEG, I want to express my gratitude to the people “behind the scenes”. It was my honor to work with so many wonderful people who made the American Connemara Pony Society’s experience at the World Equestrian Games so successful. Generous financial support and colorful brochures from the Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society, Clifden, Ireland were greatly appreciated. Numerous donors gave to the “Ride to the WEG”, the brainchild of Joanie Webster (California) and Sally Oxnard (New Hampshire) relying on the generous help of Christie Kelly (California). Donors, benefactors, and exceptional volunteers combined to make the exposure and publicity of the Connemara Pony possible. The booth and demonstrations were informative and well organized. A huge amount of credit should go to the Connemara Pony owners and riders/drivers who made the commitment to follow all the veterinary directives (starting 9 months in advance) and Homeland Security rules; ship long distances; work with people and ponies they had never met; and, then, give entertaining demonstrations! They were great!

And, last but not least, thanks to Irishman, Dr. Pearce Lyons and his company, Alltech, for providing this unique opportunity. Without his vision and commitment, none of this would have happened in Lexington, KY.