Connemaras at the RDS

The RDS remains firmly commited to promoting the performance attributes of  the Connemara Pony at the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show. With a  selection of in-hand and ridden classes, the focus continues to be on performance, breeding for purpose and market requirements, and retaining the unique attributes of the Connemara Pony.

The RDS remains firmly committed to promoting the performance attributes of the Connemara Pony at the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show. With a selection of in-hand and ridden classes, the focus continues to be on performance, breeding for purpose and market requirements and retaining the unique attributes of the
Connemara Pony.

The 2011 Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show saw the inaugural running of the successful Connemara Pony Breeders’ Championship. The new Championship was introduced to capitalise on the performance successes of Connemara ponies such as Ballyowen Maybelle Molly, winner of an Individual and Team Gold Medal at European Pony Championships in 2009, by showcasing the breeding stock of those breeders dedicated to replicating such success. The class aims to encourage the production of quality young stock which can in time and with suitable nurture achieve success in the various equestrian pony disciplines. It will help ensure a healthy and progressive future for the breed and aims to serve as a benchmark for pony breeders and the industry at large to determine the progress being made in the national pony herd.

The inaugural class saw fourteen mare and foal combinations compete for the title having qualified through four qualifying shows held throughout the country. Judging was based on adjudicating the mare as a progenitor of athletic type foals with obvious performance potential, with the mares score accounting for 40% of the overall mark and the foals score making up the additional 60%. Francis O’Reilly’s ‘Glenmore Kellys Owen’ and her colt foal ‘Glean More Bar Navave Buachaill’ by the stallion ‘Cuileog Cashel’ took the 2011 Championship.

With a prize fund of €5,000 on offer for the Connemara Pony Breeders’ Championship, €10,000 for the Connemara Performance Hunter classes, €1,100 for the in-hand stallion class and €4,000 spread over the Ridden Connemara classes, a substantial €20,000 is on offer as the total prize fund for the Connemara section
at the Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show.

The Connemara Performance Hunter classes, which were first introduced in 2008, have very quickly become the ultimate showcase for the ability and versatility of the Connemara Pony. The classes have proved a huge attraction, showcasing the Connemara as a leading all-round leisure and competition pony. The standard
and quality of competition in addition to the setting, the well built, demanding and colourful courses have all added to the spectacle.

The qualifier system which is run in conjunction with the Future Event Horse League has also proved a very successful venture with the standard of competition improving throughout the qualifiers and culminating in a spectacular final at the Show. Former jockey and event rider Ian Stark OBE set a challenging and vibrant
course for the riders to negotiate during the at the 2011 Connemara Performance Hunter finals, with Helena Dawson’s ‘Gloster Boy’ and Lorli Higgins ‘Grey Victory’ being crowned the winners of the 5 to 7 year old and 8 to 15 year old classes respectively.

As always the RDS endeavours to showcase the best of Irish bred horses and ponies, to set high standards for breeding and reward performance. The Connemara classes serve the RDS Equestrian Mission Statement by demonstrating the distinctive traits of the native Connemara pony, through exhibiting its versatility, rideablity, performance ability and scope for adults and children alike.

The RDS look forward to 2012 and to showcasing the Connemara pony to a high standard, ensuring it remains a commercial, viable and marketable product into the future.

The 2012 Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show will take place from Wednesday the 15th of August to Sunday the 19th of August. Book your tickets early on www.dublinhorseshow.com.

For further information on the Connemara classes at the RDS contact:

Fiona Sheridan,
Equestrian Development Manager
Phone: +353 1 240 7201
Email: fiona.sheridan@rds.ie