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Thursday 8 December 2016

Perfect pony tales at the Connemara Show

The sun shone on Co Galway as annual event showcased finest in unique breed

Published 24/08/2010 | 05:00

Warm sunshine greeted the thousands of visitors who descended on Clifden to enjoy the 87th Annual Connemara Pony Show on Thursday.

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Part of a week-long spectacle designed to celebrate Ireland's native pony, the show was a showcase for some of the finest animals in this unique breed.

Irish breeders mingled with fellow Connemara enthusiasts from Britain, France, Germany, Holland and Denmark, as well as those from long-haul destinations such as America, Australia and even South Africa.

The upgraded show facilities, owned by the Connemara Pony Breeders' Society, ensured plenty of vantage points for visitors keen to pick their winners from the feisty foals, testosterone-pumped stallions and benevolent mares as they paraded around the rings.

Some 570 ponies were entered in the 24 in-hand classes and 10 ridden classes on Thursday, with the Supreme Champion title being awarded to Village Linnet, owned by Henry O'Toole from Faulkeeragh, Clifden. The Champion Ridden Pony title went to Mister What, owned by Elizabeth Maher from Naas in Co Kildare.

On Friday, the versatility of the Connemara was displayed in the performance classes.

A dressage display showcased the breed's movement, while the exciting Puissance class had the crowd roaring as each pony attempted to clear the daunting wall. =

At the ringside, recession talk was practically banned, although all breeders admit that prices for breeding stock have fallen in line with the wider equine industry.

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Away from the ring, one of the most popular stands was that of McHughs of Cong, who had a constant queue of hungry spectators eager to fill up on decent belly-filling sandwiches, apple tart and Lyons tea served in real mugs.

Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith, who officially opened the event, said he was pleased that his department was in a position to continue to support the breed, through the Conservation of Genetic Resources (Rare Breeds) option in the Agri-Environmental Options Scheme (AEOS).

Minister Smith acknowledged the continuing high welfare standards being maintained by the vast majority of Irish horse owners and the quality of care displayed by the Connemara breeders at the show.

However, he added that recent reported incidents of neglect and cruelty were regrettable and unacceptable -- particularly within a country with such a proud equine tradition.

In-hand classes *

Yearling Colt

Dolan Pete (Dolan Mick x Katie Dolan Lass), owned by Michelle Conroy, Bunowen, Ballyconneely, Clifden, Co Galway.

Yearling filly

Loughconn Daisy (I Love You Melody x Loughill Molly), owned by Tom Clancy, Danesfield House, Danesfield, Moycullen, Co Galway.

Stallion -- two-year-old

Johnny Fox (Glenayre Silver Fox x Doohulla Lucky Star), owned by Feichin and Kerry King, Ballyconneely, Co Galway.

Mare -- two-year-old

Canal Princess (Frederiksminde Hazy Match x Castle Countess), owned by Padraic Hynes, Canal Stage, Ballinafad, Co Galway.

Mare -- three-year-old

Glencarraig Rose Marie (Glencarrig Prince x April Rose), owned by Cáillín Conneely, Letterdyfe, Roundstone, Co Galway.

Stallion -- three-year-old

Dunloughan Troy (Currachmore Cashel x Bay Lass), owned by Terence Sweeney, Bunowen, Ballyconneely, Co Galway.

Junior championship

Canal Princess (Frederiksminde Hazy Match x Castle Countess), owned by Padraic Hynes, Canal Stage, Ballinafad, Co Galway.

Stallion -- four to six years

Lucky Rebel (Currachmore Cashel x Lucky Mavourneen), owned by Patrick McGrath, St Patricks, Cregmore, Claregalway, Co Galway.

Stallion -- seven years and over

Kingstown Fionn (Monaghan-stown Fionn x Kingstown Silver), owned by Malachy Gorham, Glenbrickeen Farm, Clifden, Connemara, Co Galway.

Mare -- four to five years

Rosscon Windy Lady (Laerkens Cascade Dawn x Winnie), owned by Noel Noonan Rusheen Lodge, Ardbear, Clifden, Co Galway.

Mare -- six to seven years

Village Linnet (Laerkens Cascade Dawn x Village Girl), owned by Henry O'Toole, Faulkeeragh, Clifden, Co Galway.

Mare -- 10 to 15 years

Castle Urchin (Abbeyleix Owen x Castle Dame), owned by Henry O'Toole, Faulkeeragh, Clifden, Co Galway.

Mare -- sixteen years or over

Castle Cailin Ard (Rocky x Castle Dame), owned by Padraic & Nicola Heanue, Ballinaboy, Clifden, Co Galway.

Progeny class

Lishmar Coleen (Ashfield Bobby Sparrow x Moy Dawn), owned by Jim Mullaney, Clydagh, Moycullen, Co Galway.

Visitor champion

Hazelrock Star (Glencarrig Prince x Smokey Star), owned by Kieran McGrath, Hazel Rock House Cahernashilleeny, Claregalway, Co Galway.

Confined champion

Village Linnet (Laerkens Cascade Dawn x Village Girl), owned by Henry O'Toole, Faulkeeragh, Clifden, Co Galway.

Supreme champion

Village Linnet (Laerkens Cascade Dawn x Village Girl), owned by Henry O'Toole, Faulkeeragh, Clifden, Co Galway.

Colt foal

Rathlacken Sunset (Rosscon Sunrise x Crannard Katie The Kid), owned by Sean Bourke, Rathlacken, Carrowmore Lacken, Ballina, Co Mayo.

Filly foal

Canal Purple Heather (Clooshgreen Prince x Village Heather), owned by Padraic Hynes, Canal Stage, Ballinafad, Co Galway.

Champion foal

Rathlacken Sunset (Rosscon Sunrise x Crannard Katie The Kid), owned by Sean Bourke, Rathlacken, Carrowmore Lacken, Ballina, Co Mayo.

Young handlers

Maeve Conneely with Rosscon Windy Lady (Laerkens Cascade Dawn x Winnie), owned by Noel Noonan, Rusheen Lodge, Ardbear, Clifden, Co Galway.

13.2hh mare

Chilham Clicquot (Calmore Champagne Charlie x Chiltern Quota), owned by Conor C Joyce, Doleen Quay, Ballyconneely, Co Galway.

*only first places published

Irish Independent