Ireland’s sole native pony is named after its home region, a remote mountainous area of western Ireland known as Connemara. Although they have lived in the wild for centuries, these Connemara ponies exhibit a type of beauty and athleticism not seen in other mountain ponies. Their versatility makes Connemaras well suited for both labor and equestrian competition. For many centuries, the Connemara pony was the mainstay of life in the far west of Ireland. They were the means by which the land was tilled; the produce delivered, and the social life of this very remote area maintained. Fulfilling these varied tasks developed the amazingly versatile pony that we have today. The Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society was founded in Ireland in 1923 with the object of conserving and developing these native ponies. Inspections were started to select the best ponies from the existing population for entry into the first volume of the Stud Book which was published in 1926. This work is still carried out today with all stock being inspected before acceptance into the Stud Book. The Society purchases their own stallions who travel around Connemara for the service of mares at low fees.
A Connemara Pony Show was established in the West of Ireland in the town of Clifden, Co. Galway enabling the breeders to compete against one another as well as display their stock to the world. This show remains an important event: locally, nationally, and internationally. The Clifden Pony Show takes place in the town of Clifden on the third Thursday in August each year.
Over the years, the Connemara pony has been exported from Ireland to 16 countries around the world. Each country maintains a Breeders’ Society which strives to develop, promote, and preserve the Connemara pony as a distinctive breed, internationally. The Connemara pony has become extremely popular for both children and adults alike as they excel in many disciplines around the world.