Connemara Pony Christmas Drive ’08

 On a bitterly cold mid-winter’s blue-sky day on 27 Dec. the ‘drivers group’ from the Connemara Pony Breeders Society, set off inland from the old Spiddal harbour on Galway Bay to take the high narrow road to Moycullen village. Shortly after noon the cavalcade of gigs, buggies, pony riders, cars, jeeps and trailers made its way past the old church and graveyard, across the village centre main road – where a Garda halted all traffic to allow them through – then up on to the raised bog which stretches for miles in  all directions.

Macdara Mac Lochlainn drives Blue Smokey past the old graveyard
Macdara McLoughlinn drives Blue Smokey up past the old graveyard





 Macdara MacLochlainn drove his father Tom’s  buggy with their mature Connemara stallion Blue Smokie between the shafts. This unusual carriage originated in the Netherlands and shows the very varied style of these conveyances, all differing in size and shape.  Michael Cunniss 'postillion mode' on Jack McCann's PhoenixThe large Phoenix, Jack McCann’s  20 year old exercise and competition carriage, was pulled by two black Gelderlanders.  Jack had bought them and the carriage from well- known Galway driver and trainer Michael Cunniss, who journeyed standing ‘postillion-like’ at the back. This Phoenix was one of Michael’s finds in England. Although the only non-Connemara animals out on the day they were made very welcome.  There were a few intrepid ‘outriders’ who completed the trip also, Katie Curran, Abbey Clancy and Chantelle Kyne, the youngest participant at age 10, all on their own Connemara steeds. They were the only warm people to arrive in Moycullen ! Abbey Clancy, Katie Curran and Chantelle Kyne

Chicago Boy in fine fettle in the Roadcar with Patrick Lee
Patrick Lee drives Chicago boy in the Amish made Roadcar




There were five different types of driving gig there, from the small Doctor’s buggy (originally from Kentucky) pulled by Michael Moran’s Rocklawn Lady and driven by Kenneth Kyne whose father Peter has the previous two drives on video.  This medicine man’s  buggy has a sealed built-in box under the seat for carrying the doctor’s equipment and medicines and has large wheels the better to speed him to his sick calls. 

Rocklawn Lady pulls the Doctors buggy for Kenneth Kyne
Kenneth Kyne drives Rocklaun Lady in the Doctors buggy


he Meadowbrook gig was pulled by Karen Vicencio’s American-bred Connemara, the 17 yr. old Balius Derring DoKaren Vicencio drives Balnius Derring Do in the Meadowbrook gig. Karen is an experienced veteran driver who has been driving since the age of 12. The Meadowbrook, originally from New York, was built to ensure some comfort for long-journey driving.



Connemara bog road, a Winter ride



Emma Clancy and daughter Abbey take Hazel and Colonel for a St Stephen's Day outing
Emma Clancy and daughter Abbey take Hazel and Colonel for a St Stephen’s Day outing



A seasonal picture.  Emma Clancy and daughter Abbey enjoy a guiet St. Stephen’s Day ride on Hazel and Colonel on a bog road near Moycullen, Co.Galway. 





Wishing you all a very peaceful and relaxed Christmas season and the very best of everything for you and your Connemara ponies in 2009.



“ Nollaig Shona   Happy Christmas   Joyeux Noel   Glaedelig Jul   Hyvaa joulua   Frõliche Weihnachten   God Jul   Feliz Navidad   Buona FesteNatalizie ”

Drimcong Rose last of the Carna Bobby mares

This old retired mare, she will be 35 in Jan 09, is still hale and hearty in her home field near Moycullen west of Galway. She is the last of a line – the last of the Carna Bobby Rose now 35 yrsmares still living – and is owned by Judy Cazabon, now living in Cleggan, for whom she was a wedding present as a foal from James Regan of Moycullen.

Enda Keane with Drimcong Rose
Drimcong Rose with Enda Keane

Carna Bobby was aged 27 when he covered Rose’s dam Atlantic Shower who was by Mac Dara.   Drimcong Rose (6375), was foaled in January 1974, and the breeding line traces back to Connemara Boy and of course to Cannon Ball on the sire’s side. (See below for info. on Carna Bobby)                                                         

She was backed by her owner as a three year old, only bucking her trainer off once!! and started work as a school pony aged 4.  As Judy describes her “She then became the perfect school pony, going into beginner mode with a novice rider or experienced mode with the knowledgeable rider” She was a nice jumper and “you could put anyone on her” and she was always reliable and safe although retaining a tendency to play ‘hard to catch’ in the field but thankfully she finally stood still when the catcher persevered!!.Winning Class at Cashel Show with the late Val Moran


Drimcong Rose was a working pony in her owner’s Riding School for the best part of 24 years and rarely appeared in the show ring. But she had good looks, conformation and movement, qualities which led Connemara pony veteran breeder Bobby Bolger to describe her as ‘one of the top Carna Bobby mares’. He himself showed her twice in the late 80’s when she was 2nd in Clifden and then 1st at Oughterard in the 10yrs and over Class. Judy recalls showing her on several occasions and she was always in the top three.  But work was her life, not showing, whether it was in Moycullen in the eighties or Cashel in the nineties and then on to the coastal fishing village of Cleggan where today the riding centre looks across the Atlantic inlet to Cleggan Hill.     She had two foals by the small Thoroughbred stallion Speck  and sadly she was never bred again as the world of work took over.                              Rosie on duty at Moycullen 1984

He is said to have been responsible for the most beautiful mares and also gave speed and athletic ability to his progeny, some of whose names may be familiar to you if you own a Connemara. Among the Stallion Sons are:     The Admiral, Ballydonagh Bobby, Island King, Killyreaqgh Kim, Coosheen Finn, Ashfield Sparrow, Ashfield bobby Sparrow, Tantallon Bobby, Ballydonagh Bobby.  Some of his daughters were Queen of Diamonds, Atlantic Mist, Silver Lining, Abbeyleix Holly, Gloves Misty, Cailin Ciuin, Rose of Barna.  All of these ponies were winners in the Show Ring as was Carna Bobby himself, taking the Stallion Class in Clifden on  three occasions, in 1949, ’51 and ’55.

Carna Bobby with Jack Bolger
Carna Bobby with Jack Bolger

For further information , if you go to my website at  ,Ardcru Books, you will read more in ‘A Way with Horses’ on the Bolger family and Carna Bobby.

Derrymore Paddy Finn

 Best known as a regular winner of Ridden Connemara and Side-saddle classes with rider Esme Mansergh Wallace, this Cloonisle Cashel – Goodbye My Love gelding has rarely been out of the first three, and on numerous occasions has stood  top of the line in six years of Show Ring appearances.  After a short period with Shane Carey of Tullow, Co. Care, who originally backed and schooled him, he was bought by the Galway  O’Dochartaighs, still a three yr. old.  During the next two years he won both Working Hunter, Connemara and Show Hunter Ridden Classes with Aideen and Working Hunter and Derby Classes with Shane.

Early days with Aideen at Galway County Show
Early days with Aideen at Galway County Show

He moved on to the Mansergh Wallace’s in Tipperary and has had many wins with Esme and her sister Avena who lavish plenty of TLC on him and have ridden him with outstanding success for the past four years.


Side saddle Reserve Champ, Dublin, with Esme.
Esme and Paddy Finn win Side-saddle and Reserve Championship

Supreme at Oughterard '05
Supreme at Oughterard ’05 Ruth Rodgers

RDS wins. In ‘04, ‘06 and ‘07 he won RDS red rosettes in Side Saddle and Connemara Pony Ridden Classes at the Dublin venue  

In 2005 he came 1st in the Gowla Ridden Final over 16 ( with Esme) and was Ridden Supreme Champion Pony of the day and Supreme Champion Ridden Connemara Pony at Oughterard Show.

Over these years his rider took the Best Side-saddle Rider Awards at the RDS and  IPS Awards, three years running and the pair have had recent success in Equitation classes receiving the IPS Ridden Equitation Pony and Rider of the Year Award in 06.  He has

Winning at Dartfield in '08
Winning at Dartfield in ’08

also been Champion Ridden Mountain and Moorland  pony in 07 and 08.  Each of his riders speak well of this clever intelligent pony, who can show a mischievous side on occasions but on the whole is a good and faithful servant.

P.S.  In Jan ’09 he was awarded the IPS large Breeds M.and M. accolade for the second year running. In Jan 10, he made it a treble.  

******UPDATE  RDS DUBLIN 2010.  Esme and Paddy Finn won their Ridden Class and the Supreme Championship, the Eugenia Murray Trophy.  He went beautifully and behaved immaculately.  Esme was overjoyed and look forward to fulfilling a life-long ambition, to ride a Champion in the Main Arena before the Nations Cup on Friday of the Show. 

Ridden Connemara Champion RDS 2011


Jan 2011: For the fourth year running Derrymore Paddy Finn was awarded the Best Ridden Mountain and Moorland Award at the Irish Pony Society Points Awards event.

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Ponies on 1983 black and white poster.

dun pony who where when
dun pony who where when

I am looking for help from all you Connemara Pony fans everywhere.   I have, over the past few months, identified many ponies, people and locations from the 46 picture Connemara Pony Poster published in 1983. 



man holding pony
man holding pony

The photos are not captioned and I feel that if names are not resurrected soon, some will remain always unknown. 

 I have had lots of help so far in this project from many different people  both at home and abroad. 

white mare black foal
white mare black foal

  Iff you think you recognise any of the pictures now presented, please get in touch with me at .  Thank you

Maam Cross Fair Oct 2008

October 30, 2008 at 6:30 pm (Connemara pony, horses, pony) (Impressions of Maam Cross Fair, Foal of the Fair, Kilmacduagh Princess)

Good view from up thereGoing back many years, certainly hundreds if not more, the Fair at Maam Cross is an amazing event, not just because of the huge crowds who congregate in their thousands there on the last Tuesday in October, but because of the variety of goods and animals on sale.  Everything from large coloured horses to their tiny horse relatives, to donkeys, goats, puppies, hens, geese and ducks to Connemara Pony geldings, mares and foals of all ages and sizes. 2-ponies-maam-cross-0271Traders and food wagons line the Clifden road. Cars, horse and cattle trailers, lorries and every sort of motor conveyance line the four roads converging on the Cross and Peacockes hotel, bar and restaurant does a roaring trade.  Parking is now regulated by many Gardai and yellow bollards flourish in an effort to keep three of the main roads open.  Walkie talkies keep through traffic regulated.  Families, the children well wrapped up from  the cold wind, older Connemara men in tweed caps puffing pipes, who have been coming here for years, young couples saunter forth, the sun shines and the goats-and-donkeysblue sky and timeless mountains cheer the heart until the next downpour when the whole sky darkens ominously again and vendors are heard to say, ‘no good staying here, you’d get more money for a sheep here today, it’s such a terrible day’; when suddenly the shower is over and the sun comes out again to thaw frozen hands and faces. And Busy road near Maam Crossthey don’t go home yet because they might miss someone, an old friend who also comes each year to this gathering. The Fair reminds me of stories of the Patrún or Pattern celebrating a feast day of long ago, the Samhain marking the time of year when farmers sold their crops and surplus animals before the onset of Winter. “The Irish name for the Crossroads is ‘An Teach Doite’ the burned house – (a reference to the Bogman’s Ball event where steaks were cooked on shovels and fire was often the result!).     Traditionally Maam Cross has been a trading post for livestock and good s for hundreds of years, the location of a monthly fair and the October horse fair which still exists today”. (from the Website of Maam Cross Mart)  Nowadays there are Cups and prizes for the best filly and colt foals of the Fair and the winning filly this year belonged to John Flaherty of Gort, Co.Galway.Champion filly foal with grandam

Filly Foal of the Fair
Filly Foal of the Fair



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