Horse Isle 3: Big Book of Breeds
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Big Book of Breeds
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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Connemara (Conn)   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The Connemara is an Irish moorland pony breed, named after the region of Connemara in the West Coast of Ireland from which it originated. It is known for its natural jumping ability, and for being the only native Irish equine breed.

The ancestors of the Connemara pony arrived at Ireland 2,500 years ago, when they were first brought to the marshy regions of West Ireland by the Celts. Hundreds of years later, in the 16th century, Spanish horses have also arrived to Ireland. There are two theories for where these horses came from: according to the first theory, a Spanish Armada loaded with Spanish horses sank close to the Connemara shoreline, and the Spanish horses managed to swim to the shore. According to the other theory, Spanish horses were imported to Ireland. Regardless of their origin, what we do know is that the Spanish horses bred with the local ponies.

Over the years, these ponies mainly roamed wild in the cold and boggy environment of the mountainous Connemara region. They became strong, tough, well-minded, and cautious, always taking care not to slip when walking near the steep cliffs of the coastline. Occasionally, local farmers would catch and tame some of the mares, and then use them as pack ponies. Selective breeding of the strongest and most capable mares preserved these qualities in the Connemara breed.

In 1923, the Connemara Pony Breeders Society was established, and began to monitor the breeding of Connemara ponies, with the aim of conserving the qualities of the breed, while also maintaining purity of the breed by prohibiting crossbreeding with other breeds.

Today, Connemara ponies stand between 12.2hh and 14.2hh, though individuals as tall as 15hh can be found. They are popular with both children and adults for their bravery, common sense, and prodigious jumping ability, excelling in pony jumping classes, in eventing, and in the hunt field. They come in most solid coat colors.

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