News Around the World
CONNEMARA NEWS – AND – THOUGHTS UPON WHICH TO PONDER
Those of you who are lucky enough to be able to purchase the magazine “Ireland’s Equestrian” will probably have already read the article on “Kippure Stud – The Business of Connemaras”
Many of you will probably have visited “Kippure”, spoken to Michael Igeo and realised the depth of Connemara knowledge that he possesses and will readily appreciate the message that is contained in his article on page 69 – 71 of the March April issue of Ireland’s Equestrian.
Michael outlines the primary use of the Connemara Pony in the early days and the market forces that saw change in the use of the Pony – consumerism, specialisation, dependence and market propaganda prevailed with the system of brood mares no longer expected to be worked and tested thoroughly. Faults and weaknesses that other wise would be found at the source of the working were now getting through. He speaks of a broad universal knowledge that is now found in place of what was a narrow detailed personal knowledge of individual ponies and the breed in general that lasted from childhood until death. Succession meant inherited knowledge and the passing on of this knowledge.
Understanding the relationship of “form and function” holds the key to success. Get it wrong and the result is devastating he states. Selective breeding is an art, which is second nature to someone who is gifted with the knowledge. Understanding the bloodlines and back breeding requires patience and analysis. He refers to the knowledge of Susan De Vesci, Jimmy Jones and Graham Tulloch that represented a Life’s work, a philosophy committed to memory.
In the heading – “Links in the chain” -Michael refers to the activities of the later part of the 20th century and the problems of inbreeding, over height, lack of bone etc. Michael states that as we delve further into the Connemara Pony, the more impressive is the impact that some of our predecessors have made. These vital links must be maintained, as without them, the demise is hastened.
“Need for reform –Blueprints for competition” Michael believes that our endeavours are to build on the efforts of our past stalwart breeders and be authentic in this restoration. The “In-Hand” world is only a small glimpse into the story of the Connemara Pony. Ponies must be bred that will meet customers expectations. There is a need to instil confidence in the industry of breeding Connemara ponies that in fact possess those unique qualities of the Connemara pony that can and do perform As well as and in fact better than most.
An interesting and thought provoking article for those who have concerns for the future of the Connemara pony.
The pony performance ranking for 2008 makes interested reading for the friend of the Connemara pony. Here the results over the past year of ponies of all breeds are summarised and the ponies are ranked relative to each other. For the performance interested breeder the ranking lists make interesting reading.
Beginning with dressage the overall winner of 2008 was a Connemara pony, Lotus II (by Rolls Royce out of Lorette V). Rolls Royce is one of the Swedish stallions with an Elite premium and he has long had a reputation of siring good performance ponies. Lotus’ dam Lorette V is imported to Sweden from France and has also been competing successfully, although in show jumping. Lotus himself has been one of the top dressage ponies in Sweden competing successfully for more than a decade. He has twice participated in the European Championships, both times qualifying to the individual final.
No less than nine Connemaras appear among the top 100 of the dressage ponies. The stallion V ̈arnbergs Orion has sired the second highest ranking Connemara, Hagens Qumulus (out of Hagens Fondora), another old European Cham- pionship participant. Qumulus half sister Ha- gens Rosmara (out of Hagens Andora) also made top 100. This mare won the Swedish Champi- onships for Connemara ponies a few years back and has also done well at the in-hand classes of the national show proving that conformation and performance go hand in hand. Also Rolls Royce have two of his offspring on the top 100 dressage list. Backens Lotus (out of Princess Jasmin) is another winner of the Swedish Cham- pionships for Connemara ponies and his rider was awarded the Folksam stipend from the Swe- dish Connemara society for 2008 for advertising the Connemara so well with her successful com- peting.
Eventing has a history of being a strong Connemara discipline in Sweden. Lately, however, there has been a lack of Connemaras among the absolute top performers. In 2008 seven Connemaras made top 100 with the highest ranking being Sunday Bell (by Countach Campbell x Sun Light), incidentally yet another winner at the Swedish Championships for Connemara ponies. Finney Master, another of the Elite premium stallions in Sweden, during his lifetime, made a name for himself as a sire of performance ponies and among the top 100 eventers two of his offspring were found: Brol ̈otens Azzaro (out of Dame Grainne) and Amielle (out of Brantshammar Beckymoss). The international crowd may be interested to hear that two imported ponies were also among the top 100: the Danish S ̈ostholm Kidman (by Pilgaards Killroy out of S ̈ostholm Kimberley) and the Irish Grange Flynn Sparrow (by Ashfield Festy out of Grange Agnes Sparrow).
If the purebred Connemaras are somewhat absent among the top eventers this is made up for in no small amount by two highly successful partbreds. Lillefot (by Frederiksminde Hazy Chance) was the number one eventer in 2008. Among his successes last year are a gold at the Swedish Championships and at the Nordic – Baltic Championships. Runner up to Lillefot in the ranking is another partbred Connemara: Casper (by Cannon) who was the best Swede at last years European eventing Championships.
Show jumping is by far the most popular discipline in Sweden with fierce competition, and Irish ponies have a reputation of jumping well. Sadly many Irish ponies, sometimes a picture of Connemara breed type, still come to Sweden with an unknown pedigree. Fortunately many Connemaras also bring their true identity to Sweden and market the Connemara as a high class performer.
The most successful show jumper in 2008 was the Connemara Westside Padraig (by Westside Fred out of Aran Suzy). Among his many wins were two bronzes in the Swedish show jumping championships indoors and outdoors respectively. Another of Westside Fred’s gets Lexus Justice (out of Dunamoney Lass) ranked number 15 in 2008, and the third highest ranking Connemara was a grandchild of Westside Fred: Williams Town Wonder (by Monaghanstown Fred out of Charlotte’s Pride). Show jumping genes anyone?
Another pony known for his performance genes is Poetic Justice (by Ballydonagh Cas- sanova out of Gloves Misty). His purebred daughter Poetic Annie (out of Myrens Anitra) is one of the seven Connemaras on the show jumping top 100. Another of his get, the partbred Golden Star was the third most successful show jumper in 2008 beaten only by the purebred Westside Padraig and an Irish import with unknown breeding. In the indoor show jumping championships of 2008 Golden Star took a silver medal.
The competition season so far
The competition season of 2009 has started for show jumping and dressage and a handful of indoor competitions on a national level has been held. It is still too early to single out which ponies will be the ”big” ones this year, but it is pleasing to see that several Connemaras are already in the ribbons. In show jumping the Swedish bred Desdemona (by Brol ̈otens Joop out of Ti-Ti-Oo) and Poetic Gilbert (by Poetic Justice out of Poetic Annie) has won and been placed respectively, while Irish bred ponies like Clew Bay Thunder (by Thunderball out of Racecourse View), Hearnsbrook Mairtin (by Connemara Playboy out of Atlantic Rose), Finisglen Flora (by Coosheen Finnegan out of Finisglen Star) and Harnells Tricky Dicky (by Rynn Richard out of Fermoyle Heather) all have been placed. The Danish Connemara Skousboe Morning Gift (by Skousboe Morning Rock out of Frederiksminde Mary Lou) have already visited Sweden and travelled back home with a rosette.
In dressage the old veteran Hagens Qumulus (by V ̈arnbergs Orion out of Hagens Fondora), at 19 years of age, has started off very well with two rosettes in his first competition. Backens Lotus is also showing promise with a 6th place at his first national competition of the year. The mare K ̈ohls Fidolina (by Shirley’s Thunderbell out of Hagens Ellina) had a promising start to competing at a national level when she took a third place and qualified to the Swedish Championships at her very first start at this level.
Poetic Justice has been in the news quite a bit lately. Already well known, also among non-Connemara people and riders with not interest in breeding, for his ability to sire outstanding jumpers first made the headlines by travelling down to France for the 2009 covering season. At the stallion inspections in late March he was the man of the day in all ways. Firstly Poetic Justice was awarded his Elite premium, in particular for the jumping ability of his offspring, and is now among the select group of Swedish Elite stallions.
But the success of Poetic Justice did not end here. Later during the day his son Poetic Kelly was approved. Kelly is out of Lofty Dusty Rambler (by Kimble) and certainly lived up to what his pedigree promised with his impressive loose jumping. Other news from the inspections was that L ̊angarn ̈o Cedric completed his performance test and is now fully approved and Calvin Klein was awarded an A premium for the good conformation of his offspring.
Photo: Figure 1 -3: Jenny Hagenblad, figure 4 Annsi Jacobsson
We met Herbert first in 1976 when he was already an experienced Connemara pony breeder who had imported several ponies from the Netherlands and Ireland. I was six years old at that time and my family was invited to his house situated in the mildly mountainous region “Sauerland” in Westfalia. We got a warm hearted welcome from him and his wife Helga, who had loads of tea and food for us while Herbert provided us with pony stories and Irish stories and did so continuing for hours. To me visiting them has been like that ever since then. Last time we visited him about 4 weeks ago, now with my own two year son who was as impressed by his beard like I was more than thirty years before.
He was not only a pony man and a passionate whip, he loved his hunting and fishing, he kept bees and had great skills in all kind of crafts and built his own carriages. He loved travelling the world and it was only two years ago that he came home from a 12 weeks trip to Alaska. He was devoted to the breed and served both German Connemara Pony Societies for many years as president, working for their reuninification.
Herbert’s most renown mare was Ganty Mint (Carna Bobby-Clonkeehan Auratum) that he bought after long time negotiations from Joe MacNamara in Craughwell, Connemara. She was carrying a filly foal by Calla Boy which was called Bigge Calla Mint and left a legacy of daughters for Herbert’s Bigge Stud behind. Ganty Mint was also the dam of the stallion Power Boy who sired no less than 6 states premium mares and the licensed stallion Pollux S.
He will be dearly missed by those who loved him and those who respected him.
Sabine Dröge from Germany
DOWN UNDER PERFORMANCE NEWS
With the tragic bush fires in Southern Australia, the devastating cyclones in the north of Queensland and the interminable drought that covers almost all of the lower half of the country, some Connemara owners and breeders do have a reason to smile, even if only briefly.
Sue Clarke, Glenormiston stud, Queensland would have a broad grin at the moment. Castle Baron (Abbeyleix Owen – Castle Dame) whilst involved with his stud duties has had time to go showing and recently brought home the champion and supreme champion ribbons. His son, Glenormiston Tipper O’Toole (owned by Sue Clarke and ridden by Lyndie Easton) gave Baron a shake and was awarded the reserve champion ribbon. Later in the day he took out the champion ridden ribbon; reserve champion ridden stallion of the show, and then to show his family class he was awarded the champion dressage horse of the show.
In all Tipper O’Toole has had three wins and twelve placings in official dressage competitions during 2008, including a 4th place at the 2008 Queensland state dressage championships. Tipper was also undefeated in agricultural shows in Connemara saddle classes and only beaten once in hand and then by his sire Castle Baron. In 2009 Tipper has continued demonstrating the excellent qualities of the Connemara pony by taking out the reserve champion Connemara stallion class, champion ridden Connemara pony and champion dressage pony against all breeds at the Queensland APSB show.
Castle Baron, still a young stallion, is certainly proving through his own efforts and those of his progeny, that the well known “Village” ponies are a forced to be reckoned with regardless of their location.
Other ponies from Glenormiston Stud stallions or Glenormiston bred ponies are also noticeable in the performance fields. Capparis High Roller (Domo Cavallo Praize – Glengarry Patsy Malone – Abbeyleix Finnbar) has an excellent dressage record. 2007 official dressage pony of the year, 2008 state pony club elementary champion and 2008 reserve champion official elementary pony of the year.
Noweddie Nicholas (Glenormiston O’Neill Clanaboy – Rainey Island Joy) was awarded the 2008 national pony preliminary dressage championship ribbon and the 2008 national pony novice dressage reserve championship ribbon.
Riverdell Park Capella (Glenormiston Slipper – Colmaur Colleen) has excelled being awarded the 2008 PC zone showjumping and equitation championships – 1st in both 17 -26 yrs equitation rounds, champion 17 -26 yrs equitation, 1st in all three classes of pony and galloway showjumping, champion pony and galloway showjumping. Capella was also awarded 4 state pony club medals from 4 appearances in showjumping and combined training.
The mare Glenormiston Aedin (Abbeyleix Finbar – Glenormiston Abbey Lara) owned and ridden by Lyndie Easton competed in 2008 in official dressage competition for 2 wins and 11 placings including a 7th at the 2008 Queensland state dressage championships.
Domo Cavallo Praize, mentioned above as the sire of Capparis High Roller, was an excellent show jumper and eventing pony and competed in the open fields in both disciplines. He was rarely beaten in eventing despite standing just 14.2hh. His versatility was shown as he was also a champion and reserve champion harness pony. Praize has a pure bred gelding son Glenormiston Patrick (dam – Washlands Rebecca) who was also a successful A& B Grade show jumper. Patrick eventually went to a younger rider who took him through pony club, inter school competition etc. At 19 yrs, Patrick can still be found competing in these events.
Abbeyleix Finbar, another of the Glenormiston stallions, was a fabulous jumper and competed in eventing and showjumping. Oxenholm Gideon, the third leg of the Glenormiston fabulous performance stallion trio competed successfully in all jumping disciplines and excelled in speed events. Praize, Finbar and Gidgeon have now all gone to greener pastures but their combined performance qualities as can be found in the Glenormiston mare contingent will be seen for many generations yet to come. Add to this, the now emerging performance qualities of Castle Baron and the Village line, Glenormiston ponies have a very bright future.
The Finnish Connemara Pony Society is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2009. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since the founding of the society in 1984. The number of Connemara ponies has grown steadily, and it is estimated that there are about 600 pure bred ponies in Finland today. In 2008 there were eight stallions standing at stud and the 200th mare was inspected for Stud Book. For the past few years breeders have had the possibility to use leased stallions from abroad as well as frozen semen from some internationally well known stallions to their mares, too.
The show season in Finland has two highlights: The National Pony Show for all breeds in Helsinki, taking part the first weekend of August every year gathering approximately 450 ponies, and the Connemara Pony Show, which hopefully will be able to establish it’s annual position in the show calendar in the beginning of September. A Connemara pony has been chosen as the Best In Show at the National Pony Show twice. In 1983 mare Espe Etta was the best pony of the show, and in 2002 her daughter Caragh Elaine Aisling (by Kåsta Scaramouche) repeated her dam’s success. The judge for Connemara Ponies is invited together with the Finnish New Forest Pony Society, so usually the judges come from Great Britain.
Last year the best Connemara pony at the National Show was mare Aramara Eliza, 18 years of age. Her breeder is Outin Talli, and the owner is Hanna Koli from Pertteli in South Western Finland. Eliza is by internationally known dressage stallion Ardnasillagh O’Flaherty, out of Danish born Pilgaards Camilla (Padraig of Rosenaharley). She has so far had four foals and is now in foal to Ashfield Cathal Crobdhearg who visited Finland in 2008.
The best young Connemara pony of the show was the only one of year 2008 Champions not born in Finland. Yearling colt Halle Lafferty (Coosheen Finbarr – Lofty Hazy Rambler – Frederiksminde Hazy Chance, breeder Ingrid Hallengård, owner Susanna Rahikainen) was imported to Finland in spring 2008.
The best Connemara stallion of the show was Symphatil Hazy Becks (Frederiksminde Hazy Marvel – Pilgaards Canoc – Cnoc Dabuide, owner and breeder Susanna Rahikainen), while the best foal was filly Rockfield Arctic Glow (Atlantic Ace – Rockfield Scaramé – Kåsta Scaramouche, breeder and owner Merja Nurmi).
A month later it was time for the 12th Connemara Pony Show in Finland. The first show had been arranged in 1989, and the judge back then was Mrs Elizabeth Petch. In 2008 Mrs Petch returned to judge the show and was pleased to see the number of quality ponies bred in Finland. All Champion titles went to Finnish bred ponies!
The Supreme Champion of the day was nine year old stallion Rockfield Scarface. He is by Ard Ri Cunga, out of Rockfield Scaramé (by Kåsta Scaramouche). Breeder and owner is Merja Nurmi. The show was held at Scarface’s current home stables near Loviisa, Southern Finland, where he is in training and participating in dressage classes on regional level. He is going to spend the 2009 breeding season in Sweden.
Other champions were the Junior Champion and Reserve Supreme Champion, yearling filly Caragh Emer (Innellan Kestrel – Caragh Enya – Ard Ri Cunga, breeder and owner Tuula Pyöriä) greatgranddaughter of the aforementioned Espe Etta, and eight year old mare Cluain Caoilfhionn (Symphatil Hazy Becks – Paradis Aniara – Kåsta Scaramouche, breeder and owner Jaana Malin), who also became Ridden Champion with Jenni Hauhia. Best foal was like at the National Show Rockfield Arctic Glow from the successful Rockfield Stud.
In 2009 the Connemara Pony Show is going to take place on 5th September, and the organizing committee has already booked the same place as last year – an equestrian center with very spacious fields to build the show ring, and with extremely helpful people to arrange all practicalities. As it will be the 25th Anniversary Jubilee Show, some special programme including jumping and dressage classes are planned. The former CPBS president Tom MacLochlainn will judge the show.
Other plans for the year include Stallion Parade in May, breeders’ get-togethers, seminars etc. Please keep an eye on the coming events on the Finnish Connemara Pony Society website.
It might be also worthwhile to have a look at Finnish breeders’ websites (links can be found on the society website) and the society sales list. If you are looking for quality youngstock you might find one in Finland!
Legendary ponies like Cocum Tiger Moth (by Tiger Gill), Ard Ash Grove (by Ard Harka) and Gaelic Silver Mist (by Rosenaharley Cormac) among others established the reputation of Connemara ponies as great performers in Finland in 70’s and 80’s. Today’s stars like Glodbles v. Graaf Janshof (by Carna Gold) and Park Benjamin (by Ashfield Festy) at national level in showjumping and Floora’s Farfadet (by Frederiksminde Hazy Marvel) in dressage keep the Connemara pony flag flying with many others who compete successfully at regional level.
Connemara Ponys at the Equitana 2009
Invited by the German Welsh Pony society the German Connemara Pony Vereinigung e.V. had taken the chance to participate for some days at the Equestrian Sports World Fair in March in Essen Germany. Only held every 2 years it is the main fair for many horse friends around the world. More than 200000 visitors came this year to this event from 14th to 22nd of March.
For 3 days the Welsh Pony society shared their exhibitor space with us and we had our own booth in hall 2 the Pony hall we promoted the Connemara Pony. Furthermore for the 3 days we had 1 stable where we put a pony to show to the visitors. Having a Pony directly beside our place attract many people. Particular the children enjoyed very much that the could easily go into the box of our stallion Groken Gun and had fun. He perfectly demonstrated the kindness of the Connemara Pony to the visitors.
On Friday 20th of March it was the day of the Pony. On that day we had the chance to participate in the show rings. We have been proud to present in the show rings 3 very well know stallions: Frederiksminde Hazy Marvel from the Kinzighausen stud, Glaskopf Golden Malcolm from the Kinzighausen stud and Marvellous Simon from the Crystal stud. What a picture 3 excellent stallions in great shape and perfect riders in the big main show ring and later in several smaller rings in various halls. What an advertisement for our breed. Many new contacts have been made during this days and we could introduce the Connemara Pony to many new people.
All images by Satu Pitkänen. Do not use without permission