The Connemara Pony is native to that part of Ireland, West of Galway, known as CONNEMARA.
The environment is harsh, lashed with gales from the Atlantic and consisting mainly of bog, mountain terrain with granite outcrops and scree, small, sparsely scattered grassed areas interspersed with granite outcrops. Ponies graze this land and feed on grasses, herbs, reeds, rushes, bog plants and, where access is available, they feed on seaweed which is rich in minerals and Iodine.
Shelter is difficult to find and the ponies utilise the deep gullies of the mountains, rocky outcrops and the shrubbery, where it exists. This environment requires a hardy, surefooted and frugal pony for survival. This Pony is the CONNEMARA PONY.
In 1963 Dr Fred Wiltshire imported the Connemara Pony Stallion ISLAND KING. With this import began the Connemara Pony breed in this country.
The first purebred Connemara foal born in Australia was Connemara Park Kenneth, (Island Prince (cps 136) x Ardan (1001) (cps 2465)) in 1966, and with him the first Australian Connemara Stud Prefix.
In 1966 Connemara Park Ann, (Island King (1) (cps 122) x Ardan (1001) (cps 2465) the first purebred filly was born and she was the first Australian bred purebred.
Dr Wiltshire’s original reason for importing Connemaras was to improve the Australian Pony. He hoped to add movement, bone and scope to this breed and Island King was in fact registered as an Australian Pony Stallion.
Since that day in 1963 the Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society of Australia Inc. has continued to grow with Studs in every State of Australia and many ponies being moved around the nation.
Milestones have been achieved and achievements have gone beyond expectations in the stock that has been bred and is now being bred by the various breeders. Australian Connemara ponies have been and are being sought by overseas buyers, and with the Australian Society being granted “Approved” Status within the International Society of Connemara Breeders this trend is expected to escalate.
Recent imports have their first stock on the ground and it looks like the tradition of import will continue. Interest is being resurrected and new breeders are appearing on the scene, but former breeders have also discovered a new interest in the Society with the addition of these new bloodlines.
The characteristics of the Connemara pony are good temperament, hardiness, staying power, intelligence and soundness, surefooted, jumping ability, suitable for a child or adult.
To sum up, the Connemara pony is a first class utility animal, equally suitable to carry a child or adult, and owning such a pony has many advantages for a family. He pays handsome dividends in safety, be it in riding for fun or competition and as has happened in every other country where he has been introduced, he will make lots of friends and admirers and will always do his best.