Picture of Conamara agus oileáin

Conamara agus oileáin

Top Facts About the Beautiful Connemara Pony

The Connemara Pony Festival should be taking place this week in Clifden. This festival celebrating the world renowned pony is built around the long running Connemara Pony Show which takes place each August.

However, due to COVID 19, both the festival and the show have unfortunately been cancelled. To mark the occasion, we’re sharing our top ten facts you may not have known about the beautiful Connemara Pony!

President Childers and the Connemara Pony

A herd of pure-bred Connemara Ponies was presented to the Irish State by the late President Erskine Childers in 1974, and the current herd in the Park are direct descendants of those presented by President Childers. Although there is no festival in 2020, visitors to Connemara can still come to Connemara National Park to see and experience these wonderful animals in their natural habitat: the Connemara National Park.


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They have Spanish ancestry

The exact origins of the Connemara pony are uncertain, but was mainly influenced by the Scandinavian and Spanish blood.  Many believe the ponies originated in 1855 when the Spanish Armanda ran aground on the west coast of Ireland.

Their Andalusian horses were let off loose and they began to breed with the wild horses of Ireland. In the 18th and 19th century they tried to refine the breed and the Connemara Pony Breeders Society was set up in order to preserve the pony.


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A national treasure

The Connemara Pony holds a special place in Ireland’s heart as the only breed native to the country! The pony only became an official breed in 1926, after the Connemara Pony Breeders Society was established.

Nowadays, the pony is one of the quintessential images of Connemara. Visitors come from all over to get the famous snapshot of the white rumps in the green landscape! Luckily, you don’t have to go too far to search for them, as they are easily spotted throughout the National Park.


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They are trojan workhorses

Raised in the rugged landscape of Connemara, these ponies are no princesses. A strong, hard-working horse, the Connemara Pony is a great animal to have on the farm.

Right up until the mid-20th-century, the ponies were a necessity in family life, pulling plows, carrying turf and hauling in seaweed to fertilize the land, as well as bring the family to Mass of a Sunday!


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Great temperaments

Just like the Connemara locals, the Connemara pony has a great personality and is well liked by everybody! The pony has a fantastic temperament, love human affection and are inquisitive, making them very easy to handle.

The Connemara pony is a safe and sensible breed, which makes them a  fantastic mount for both children and adults alike. They are extremely intelligent and very trainable.

They are bred world-wide

Like the people of Connemara, the ponies can now be found far and wide throughout the world! Together, their work ethic and beautiful nature put them in high regard around the world, but there are no large commercial breeding farms.

Today, Connemara ponies are bred in Ireland, the UK, across Europe, in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.


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The largest pony

The Irish breed is the largest of the pony breeds, ranging in height from 13 to 15 hands, with 14.2 hands as the average (between 50 and 58 inches). Although they reach maturity at five years old, they can live well into their 30s.The most dominant colour is grey and dun, but they can also be found in bay, brown, black, chestnut, roan and palomino.


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They can do it all!

The Connemara pony is a great all-rounder. With a natural jumping ability and a great strength and athleticism, they can really do it all!

The pony can be seen competing in all rings such as show jumping, eventing, dressage, driving, working hunter showing, hunting and even side saddle.

They make fantastic competition ponies, safe riding pony for children and leisure ponies for activities such as beach trekking and trail rides.


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A low maintenance breed

As mentioned above, Connemaras were bred in rugged, rural Ireland, helping on the farm and surviving tough winters. Because of the climate they were born into, they have extremely thick winter coats, making them hardy animals to survive the cold.

They can live out all year round and are more than efficient at making the most of poor grazing and minimal food.


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Enjoyed our Connemara pony facts? Then you’ll love this great read: Connemara National Park’s Most Interesting Facts

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