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Talk to me about Connemaras?

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  • Talk to me about Connemaras?

    Just searching around and thought these horses seem like well-built, solid, fun hunter/jumper/cross country prospects, etc...but mostly see either WBs or TBs in the show ring.

    Are they comparable in athletic ability to the more typical sport horses and large warmbloods (despite being smaller, seems like around 15-16 hands)?

    Anyone have personal experience about the main "pros" as well as drawbacks of the breed?

  • #2
    I love a good Connemara! I had a Conn/TB mare that was 14.2 that I did the jumpers with. Sold her to an event rider who is now going Intermediate with her.

    She's my only experience with Connemara's, but the mare is opinionated, athletic and all heart. One day I'd love to have a barn full of them.

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    • #3
      Connemaras are a pony breed, and generally more like 14h unless crossed with something else. I'm assuming there isn't a horse breed of them I've never heard of...

      If you are talking about the ponies, I really like the breed. Super athletic and sane from the ones that I've ridden.

      My trainer has a Connemara pony we use in IHSA and he's done it all. Eventing, pony club, hunters, jumpers, hunter paces, fox hunting. He's famous around us...we bring him anywhere and everyone runs over to say hi to him. Most fun I've had on a horse in college was schooling him for a show and another trainer jacker up the jumps. My coach asked why I wasn't course and when I pointed out the jumps much higher than what he was showing in, she waved me off and said he didn't care. That pony had springs in his feet!

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      • #4
        My stablemate as a junior had a Connemara (named Dunlap) that was just a hair above being a pony. He was unbeatable in the 3'6" divisions up and down the East Coast. Love the breed!
        Ryu Equestrian & Facebook Page
        Breeding Horses Today, for the Equestrian Sport of Tomorrow.
        Osteen & Gainesville, Florida.

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        • #5
          They are magical and you should buy one immediately.

          Seriously, in my experience they're similar to Irish Sport Horses in that they tend to be thoroughly sensible and on the stubborn side. This is great if you both agree you want to do the same thing. It can be problematic if the pony does not want to play today. They are very athletic and tend to be well-built and sturdy. But they are a pony breed, so if you're interested in showing them in horse classes, you will probably be looking at a Connemara cross.
          "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

          Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
          Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

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          • #6
            They are generally 14-15hh, but you can get over height ones up to 16hh (they can't be registered, or something), they are great little horses/big ponies can jump, do dressage, are very intelligent. I'd have one in a heartbeat if I could find an over height one!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by sixteentwo View Post
              They are generally 14-15hh, but you can get over height ones up to 16hh (they can't be registered, or something), they are great little horses/big ponies can jump, do dressage, are very intelligent. I'd have one in a heartbeat if I could find an over height one!
              In America there is no limiting height. In the past we had stallions that were 15.2 or 15.3.

              In Ireland overheights are Class 2 if presented for Inspection. If not they remain Class 3's and if they produce progeny their progeny if they remain underheight and pass everything else are eligible for Class 1. Class 3's once they are eligible for Inspection (so 2 or 3) are not allowed to take part in breed shows at least not in-hand.
              *The Quietman ~ Irish Approved Gr.1 Stallion
              www.windyislesfarms.com
              Like Us on Facebook

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              • #8
                Originally posted by equestrian13 View Post
                Just searching around and thought these horses seem like well-built, solid, fun hunter/jumper/cross country prospects, etc...but mostly see either WBs or TBs in the show ring.

                Are they comparable in athletic ability to the more typical sport horses and large warmbloods (despite being smaller, seems like around 15-16 hands)?

                Anyone have personal experience about the main "pros" as well as drawbacks of the breed?
                They are the largest of the pony breeds, many go overheight and there is a good market for oveheight mares and geldings.

                Very athletic. All mine ride like horses. I grew up on them in Ireland and always wondered at Americans talking about pony-strides as non I had ever dealt with were like that.

                They excel in pony jumpers in Europe. Look up Dexter Leam Pondi or Sillogue Darkie or Ballyowen Maybel Molly. And I mean big jumps not the 2'6'' or so that pony hunters jump. Connemaras? They are born jumping.

                Very smart - almost too smart. I know a couple who have outsmarted their owners as it were.

                Their smartness can be a double-edged sword because it can appear they are more trained than they are and its so easy to push them along and end up going to fast and shaking their confidence. They really do try hard to do what you want of them and I've seen more than a few burned out as a result.

                As far as hunter-jumpers I honestly believe that's what put the breed astray in the States. A Connemara should have bone and substance and isn't quite the light elegant daisy-cutting package that a welsh or welsh/tb would be that excel in hunterjumper land. There are a couple that can do it, but I've seen too often correct pony type sacrificed for hunter-jumper type.

                And hunters in Ireland are more hunter-derby types and a whole different animal than the stylized hunter-jumper here in the States.

                Very healthy as a whole. Mine all but live on air and I'm constantly trying to slim them down.

                If you want a good jumper/eventer/dressage prospect they would be my go-to. You'll have a blast. Athletic, sane and sensible with a sense of humor.
                *The Quietman ~ Irish Approved Gr.1 Stallion
                www.windyislesfarms.com
                Like Us on Facebook

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                • #9
                  I LOVE this breed. When my daughter was 10, she rode a Connemara/TB cross that was a phenom and won everything in the Zone 10 Children's Hunters. The mare continued to win everything as she moved on with other young riders. Then, thanks to The Chron's Giveaways, we "adopted" a 3 year old Connemara smallish "large" pony as a project for her when she was a teen (she was showing in Junior Jumpers so she couldn't show ponies, but she could make up a greenie). He was was almost undefeated in Large Pony Eq and qualified for Pony Finals Large Pony Division (we didn't have a green division in California) by the time he was 4, with many different kids riding him. He walked down the large lines, was cross-trained in pretty high level dressage, and was like a large dog (at one point, I found him in my laundry room helping my daughter with the laundry!). I will always remember when she got her college acceptance: I ran out to find her and saw her galloping up the trail on the Connemara, bareback, with a border collie at her heels, wearing her hard hat, shorts, and sneakers (the pony may have had a bridle on, but could have been in a halter and leadrope)! Two months later, she was a member of the Gold Medal-winning Young Riders' Zone 10 Team and three months later she won USET Finals, East. The pony lived in our yard and developed a passion for Valencia oranges. I credit the Connemaras for building her confidence, as well as her sense of humor! Best breed, ever!!!
                  Last edited by adhock; Dec. 15, 2012, 11:35 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Just to echo what everyone else has said about this breed, I have heard nothing but awesome things about the Connemara!

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                    • #11
                      Love the Connemaras!! They all seem to be so hardy and were born to jump. There's a fantastic Connemara stallion in Georgia named Ardceltic Art. I've been watching him at events for years now, and he's truly an amazing creature. Definitely has springs in his feet!!

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                      • #12
                        Adhock, what a great story about your daughter's pony!

                        OP, if you go cross country, first of all you should buy a Connemara, and then you should look up Courtney Sendak's Wil'Ya Love Me. He has his own Facebook page. I can't recall if he's full Connemara or a Connemara cross. I believe Courtney posts here also- DefyGravityEventing maybe?

                        If you want a jumper, you should buy a Connemara, and also look up Patricia Hennessey's lovely Little Tom is half Connemara. Obviously, the horse can jump.

                        (If you can't tell, I'm a huge fan of Irish-breds. The brain just can't be matched. Often too clever by half and quirky- ranging from actually quirky to what is politely described as quirky- with a solid dose of common sense, really good self preservation, and good personality. I have some reason to believe, although absolutely no proof whatsoever, that my own has Connemara in him. I'd like to think it!)
                        "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

                        Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
                        Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          "Their smartness can be a double-edged sword because it can appear they are more trained than they are and its so easy to push them along and end up going to fast and shaking their confidence. They really do try hard to do what you want of them and I've seen more than a few burned out as a result."

                          LOVE the above, posted by someone in an earlier post. I ride another breed that is smart and non reactive and people tend to push them too hard to early.
                          Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

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                          • #14
                            Love them. They tend to be smaller than what you seem to want, but you could look for a cross. They are smart and hardy. My favorite is the Irish Draught Connie cross. You could also look for a small ID or Irish Draught Sport Horse
                            Epona Farm
                            Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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                            • #15
                              I absolutely adore Connemaras and Connie/TB's! I was lucky enough to have my lovely little homebred cross, the real Small Change, for 14 years. Although he was only 14.3 hh, he kept up with the big horses as a 3'0" hunter and was just a true delight to have in the barn. I can't say enough wonderful things about him. He had tons of jump, and was really only held back by the fact that I brought him along myself (which is another testament to his good nature!).

                              Last year in Ireland, I was lucky enough to ride loads of Connemaras, all of which had the same lovely temperament and could jump the moon, furthering my adoration of the breed. We also had the opportunity to go up to the Clifden area to meet a breeder who raises both line ponies and ponies for sport - all of them were just lovely. Here's the stunning Bay Shadow - he was turned out when we arrived, so his owner whistled and he came flying down out of the top of his pasture, dodging rocks and brush, to be snuggled by complete strangers. This is Tassie's Diamond, a 5-year old stallion owned by my friend Kevin Bolger. He was turned out next to the ocean at the base of a some castle ruins that Kevin uses as a run in for ponies he needs to separate from the herd. Again, just a whistle and the ponies all came galloping over. Tassie's Diamond is a breeding stallion, turned out with all his mares, and let me cuddle right up to him without batting an eyelash. I could not get over the consistency of the wonderful, wonderful temperaments!

                              This is my current Connemara crush, Silver Shadow (the sire of Bay Shadow, above). This pony can JUMP, and Kevin (who stood the pony at his stud at Coral Connemara for a few years) says his temperament is just fabulous. I am desperately hoping to get my hands on a breeding to cross him with my TB mare to try to produce a smaller (15.2-ish?) jumping machine. Here's a YouTube of Silver Shadow in action - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mKR8CwjsWA *swoon*

                              I really adore the breed (I love a good ID or ISH as well!), as I'm sure you can tell. I don't think you could go wrong with a nice oversize purebred or a good cross. It's a shame that they're not more popular as HJ mounts here in North America.

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                              • #16
                                I guess I'm the exception here- I had a horrible Connemara who shook my confidence in myself as a rider, maybe forever. He was way, way too smart and I think had been very roughly trained as a youngster (in Ireland.) BE CAREFUL! Buy from a breeder with a long-time history who knows what she's doing.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I also had a bad experience with a Connemara though I know a few who are successful pony hunters.

                                  Mine came in on a trade so I didn't know much about her history. I have no idea what had been done to her but she was nuts. Not mean at all but just totally fried. If you so much as walked into the aisleway with a blanket and she was in the crossties; she was gone. Can't really say anything conclusive about the breed from that one situation but I think I would agree with the above posters who referred to being careful with a smart breed such as this one.
                                  \"Don\'t go throwing effort after foolishness\" >>>Spur, Man From Snowy River

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                                  • #18
                                    Irish Parks Ruffian was a Connemara that was top large pony hunter a couple years ago in Ontario. He was always consistent and jumped very well.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Wow, brilliant responses, THANK YOU!

                                      Lovvve the pictures of beautiful Irish pastures with castles & ocean, and their personalities sound great. I will now be searching all of the suggested names on youtube and swooning haha! So far love Sillogue Darkie, Silver Shadow, and Wil'Ya Love Me.

                                      "They are magical and you should buy one immediately." - Hahah, I am definitely looking into barns that focus breeding/sales of Connemara/TB crosses in the future.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Would recommend that you look into offspring of Ardceltic Art, referred to earlier in the thread. He is stunning and extremely athletic. I believe he is about 15h tall.

                                        I adore Connemaras--they are my favorite breed. When I was a youngster, I knew two of them, both mares, who belonged to fellow Pony Clubbers. Both were incredible jumpers. One would regularly jump out of her pasture and could easily beat full-sized horses in the jumper classes. The other was a cross-country machine.
                                        I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne

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