Connemara breeding stock slower to move
Demand for Connemara breeding stock has fallen back to realistic levels as the recession takes its toll on prices for Ireland's native pony.
Top prices for breeding mares fell from €7,000-8,000 three years ago down to €4,000 at the two-day sale at the weekend.
Buyers at the Connemara Pony Sales in Clifden were more interested in geldings than breeding mares and fillies, while yearling colts languished at the bottom of the trade.
Average mares, which would have made €3,000 before were sold for €700-800, while prices for yearling fillies have fallen from €2,000 to less than €1,000.
However, demand for riding ponies was solid, particularly for older geldings and those above 14.2hh in height.
Ballina-based dealer Bob Sweeney was one of the major buyers of riding ponies on Saturday, spending almost €80,000 on 28 animals.
Connemara Pony Sales manager Padraic Heanue said he was happy with the sales results, despite the tricky times. "We had some new buyers here this weekend, some from abroad, which is a good sign," he said.
Some 570 ponies were entered in the 24 in-hand classes and 10 ridden classes last Thursday. The Supreme Champion title went to Village Linnet, owned by Harry O'Toole from Faulkeeragh, Clifden. The Champion Ridden Pony went to Mister What, owned by Elizabeth Maher from Naas.