Origin: Ireland — Connaught Province.
Color: Originally dun with a dorsal stripe and black points. Now more commonly gray, also black, brown, and bay.
Character: Intelligent, tractable, and exceptionally kind. This is an excellent children’s riding pony.
Physique: Alert head, well-carried; good, medium-length neck on strong, sloping shoulders. It has a deep girth, a long and compact body with strong sloping hind quarters. Legs are short and hard, with good bones, hard feet, and action free and comfortable. Sure-footed and hardy, the Connemara is also an excellent jumper.
The Connemara is an ancient breed, probably of the same basic family as the Western Isles type of Highland pony. It has run wild in the mountains of the Irish west coast from beyond the memory of the man and was interbred quite considerably with Spanish jennets imported as a result of the wreck of the Spanish Armada in 1588.
More recently Arab blood has been introduced, and latterly Arabs and small Thoroughbreds have been bred to Connemara mares and the offspring registered as Connemara; so that the breed has changed quite considerably and it is questionable how many Connemara ponies of today deserve the name. Certainly dun, once the typical color of the Connemara, is becoming very scarce.
Until recent times the Connemara has been a multi-purpose pony, used to carry peat and turf, in harness, and for riding. Outcrosses of it have regularly produced good stock – it has almost certainly contributed to the famous Irish hunter, and crosses with Thoroughbred stallions have produced show jumpers of great ability, notably the international show jumper Dundrum (by the Thoroughbred stallion Little Heaven out of a Connemara mare) who, although only 14.3hh, could clear seven feet.
Like all native ponies, the Connemara retains its type best when fed on poor keep, which makes it difficult for breeders with lush pasture to maintain the original pony character and restrict their ponies’ height to the maximum of 14.2hh permitted by the English Connemara Pony Society. It seems generally agreed that Connemaras of the best hard, wiry type stands not much more than 13.2hh.
See more: Clydesdale Horse