News Around the World

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.

Australian Performance Register 2010/2011


The final date to accrue points for the first year of the newly established CPBSA Performance Register is 30 June 2011. It is anticipated that the state division winners and overall national Australian Connemara Performance Pony for 2010/11 will be announced in August.

Winners of the ‘In hand’ and ‘Performance’ sections will be awarded a good quality, embroidered woollen rug, and promoted in a major national horse publication.

There has been a good response to the Performance Register with nearly 70 ponies entered.

Ponies that have had scores submitted and have accrued greater than 100 points so far are:

  • Celtic Fairytale – (Celtic Winter’s Tale x Ballantrae Treacle)
  • Glenormiston Ballymalloe – (Castle Baron x Glenormiston Ballycara)
  • Glenormiston Killian – (Castle Baron x Glenormiston Ballycara)
  • Springfield Kylemore – (Ben Dhui Diccon x Celtic Summer Mist)
  • Wychwood Happy Songbird – (Wychwood Willy Wagtail x Lagoonside Divinity)

The CPBSA looks forward to receiving final scores and announcing the state winners and national Australian Connemara Performance Pony for 2010/11.

(Wychwood Happy Songbird competing in a ridden class with Kylie Watson)

(Wychwood Happy Songbird competing in a ridden class with Kylie Watson)


Australian News, November 2009


A quote from the Australian Anzac ode goes age shall not weary them nor the years condemn and from the news this month from Australia, this could apply to the Connemara Pony. Read on!

The “Jo Heard” Memorial trophy for 2009 was given to one of Joe’s home bred ponies – Ballantrae Turkish Delight. The story of the acquisition of and the working with this pony by its present owner is delightful. The trophy is decided on the Connemara Pony that is “out doing”. Not necessarily winning ribbons but out doing whatever it is that shows the Connemara pony is capable of doing better than most other ponies! A broad spectrum, but one that Jo always bred her ponies to achieve.

Turkish Delight, or “Star” as he is known at home, was first noticed at a Horse Sale on the River Murray in March 2004 by Nicole Salisbury. Catalogued as “black gelding, white star, done stock work, good jumper, suite pony club, nice type, 11yr, and 14.2hh”, Star took the eye and was purchased by Nicole’s parents that “Pony Club type” would be correct. There was no indication as to breed, or type.

It soon became evident that the previous owner had been a bully and had belted Star frequently and consistently. He had a fear of everything! Some tender loving care soon had Star beginning to accept the new environment and he went to pony Club a few times, then in May 2004, he went to his first Pony Club Gymkhana. To the surprise of all, including his new owner, he came home with 3 reserve Champions, 5 firsts, 2 seconds, 3 thirds and a first in Jumping. All of this from a pony that was initially scared of everything from his previous treatment and had been in work with the Salisbury family for just 2 months. TLC really worked.

Some little time later Nicole and her mother went riding in the bush – and got well and truly lost. The Australian bush can be very tricky in many areas if you are not “Bush orientated”. Good common sense saw Star given his head and he turned, took a course that he knew was to home although it went down steep hills, huge rocks protruding etc. but he knew and soon familiar sights were noticed and home became evident.

australia_november2009_img_50At one show he was taken to a person stated that he was a New Forest Pony and should be registered as such. Shortly after this event the Secretary of the CPBSA, Vicki Plummer was in touch with the Salisbury family to say that she believed that Star was in fact a Connemara Pony. Records were checked, previous recorded owners contacted and finally Star was found to be Ballantrae Turkish Delight. Great joy for Nicole as she now knew what a gem she had been riding and could now see the reasons for the qualities in her new pony! She owned a Connemara.

Nicole cannot name all that Star has done and won with her as rider. Suffice to say that mum has made five rugs of the ribbons that have been won at varying disciplines. Star now trusts Nicole with everything; he has got over the fear etc. Those who saw him in the early days cannot believe the difference in the Pony and the brilliance that he is showing with the questions “is this the same pony that you had previously?”

In Nicole’s words: “Star has truly helped me find my favourite breed of horse. I will always know that you cannot beat a Connemara”. Star is now 15 years of age and he is really just now finding his rhythm.

australia_november2009_img_183To continue with the theme “Age shall not weary them” come the story of Binnowie Mandolin from Sally Weiss. After purchasing Mandolin, an out of work 12 year old with limited education and no training in dressage just over 12 months ago he has had a huge change of pace. He is successfully competing in Pony Club Dressage, consistently scoring top in preliminary and has placed 5TH AT State Championships. He has had numerous top placings at EFA Pony Dressage at 2** level. Mandolin is not limited to Dressage having been placed 2nd at EFA Jnr. Preliminary ODE events, 80cm Pony Club Combined training to State level and 90cm Interschool Show Jumping.

Mandolin being a Connemara, would do anything for food, hence teaching him to bow for presentations was really quite simple – once a carrot was introduced. Sally’s own words say it all: “Binnowie Mandolin has been our introduction to Connemara Ponies and this has been an absolute delight!”

What those with Connemara ponies already know – The Connemara pony is always an absolute delight and they do really just keep on keeping on!

News from South Australia again centres on the “Mature” Connemara.

australia_november2009_img_184Mayo Mary has been show jumping for a number of years but indicated that enough was enough. Yet, she still wanted to “do things” so her owner/rider entered her, at the age of 14 years, in her first ODE. I actually saw this event and was surprised to see Mary on course. She performed extremely well on an uphill, twisting course that ran through a steep dry creek bed with several fences set precariously on the brink of the uphill cut of the creek bed. At one fence that was built on a curve Mary decided that she did not have enough room and had a stop. The only one for the course and that fault was that of the rider. The combination at its first event finished midfield but the Connemara was noticed and recognised for all of those traits that we know the Connemara to have.

Yet another mature Connemara Newlands Winsome (Newlands Gideon x Wychwood Fairy Wren) is showing the true Connemara Colours. Newlands Winsome is owned by a mature aged lady and the combination attend “Riding club and potter around”. (Owner’s words)

At one meeting a ridden Dressage test to music was convened. Owner Helen decided that she and Winsome would have a go, “just for the hell of it!” First time ever at dressage! Music was chosen – This could be the last by John Farnham (perhaps appropriate at that time) and the tune had a firm 1-2 beat rhythm and so began the training. The event time came and perhaps it was the atmosphere – perhaps it was the music – perhaps the mare understood the feelings of her rider – whatever it was – Winsome powered on, picked up the beat with intelligence, worked to perfection and to the great excitement of all, Winsome and Helen won the event by a mile!

australia_november2009_img_222Once again those wonderful traits of the Connemara Pony came to the fore. Whilst Winsome is not considered “aged” in the true sense of the opening adage, the combination fits in as Helen said to me when talking about the event – “I fit in to your introduction, I have the age and it does weary me at times – but the mare took it in her stride and really excelled beyond belief”.

News from Hobart
Glenormiston Benbaun was awarded Champion Australian pony, reserve Saddle pony and Supreme Australian Pony at the Hobart Royal Agricultural Show 2009. Do not be mislead by the awards. In Australia, because of the lack of numbers at many shows, ponies are collectively entered in classes. For Instance the “Australian” pony could have Welsh, Connemara, Australian, New Forest, Shetland, Dartmoor etc. ponies entered in the one class called “Australian” Pony. Even greater the win varying breeds competing.

News from New South Wales
From NSW comes the news that Glenormiston Bartle was awarded the Supreme Champion ribbon at the Castle Hill show in March 2009. Glenormiston Stud yet again in the news!

– Finally a consignment of frozen semen from Spinway Comet is now available to owners and breeders of Connemara Ponies in Australia. In due course, this service will form part of the liaison between the Charles Sturt University and the CPBSA.

What a wonderful Pony the Connemara Pony is!!!

News, October 2009

news_october2009_img_0Not much material is available from the Connemara worldwide since the European Show Jumping Championships and the great results of the Irish team in Moorsele, Belgium. The CPBS certainly made the most of it with the appearance of individual Medallist Ballyowen Maybelle Molly and silver team member Sillogue Darkie being paraded at the historic Clifden showgrounds during the Connemara festival in late August. I have it on good authority that Molly has now been sold to a Belgian owner.

In trolling through overseas magazines it appears that the new Connemara Performance Hunter Classes have proved popular in England with Rachel Suffern topping the 5yr – 7 yr class with the Ashfield Festy bred ANNAGH STORM. Brenda Short also made a successful return to the ring to ride NEWTON BLOSSOM to first place in the National Ridden Connemara title.

news_october2009_img_1At the NPS Summer Championships, Malvern Worcs. Sarah Dowdell’s Connemara, JOHN’S CUCKOO, ridden by Mathew Lawrence claimed the Mountain and Moorland Silver medal. A further Mountain and Moorland Pony show at Castlewellan, Northern Ireland saw 5year old County Down based ABBEY STORM take out the ridden mountain and moorland Championship. Storm was ridden by Sylvia Henry. This win added to the Pony’s success at Cavan Equestrian centre where he won the Northern Ireland Dressage Preliminary Championship.

– John Tennant