Janus (Oxenholm Marble Jnr. – Brantshammar Julie. 1989 to Oct 2009
With his sweeping long silky mane and forelock – an instantly recognisable trademark – the Connemara stallion Janus was a Showring favourite in Ireland for the past four years. Janus was bred by Eva and Anders Wilsonn in Sweden and owned since 1996 by Sweden’s Lotto Sjoberg: Since 2006 he had been standing for four seasons with Henry O’Toole of Castle Connemara Ponies until his untimely death in the autumn of 2009. Henry had first noted his dam Brantshammar Julie while on a judging trip to Sweden, where Janus was Pony of the Year in 2004, having won many In-Hand and Dressage and Ridden Championships. Janus had many successful progeny in Sweden, France and Denmark and Henry wanted to see his breeding, his invaluable qualities of conformation and movement and his incredible temperament passed on to Irish-born ponies. Henry praises this wonderful temperament and the striking movement which he passed on to this progeny; Janus had that wonderful extension coming from a freedom of the shoulder which Henry believes is bred-in. His Swedish based Sire, Oxenholm Marble Junior was top of the Swedish Connemara Pony Society’s sire conformation rating for 10 years. The phrase “‘bred in the purple” automatically comes to mind.
Marble won his 2yr. old Colt Class in Clifden in 1968 with John Brennan
Marble, grandfather of Janus, (sold to Sweden by Galway breeder John Brennan in 1976) was by Rebel Wind (from Inver Rebel and Windy) while the genes of Carna Dun and Callowfeenish Dolly are in there too. On the dam,s side there was The Fugitive and Carna Bobby.
There are about 40 Janus foals bred in Ireland but many of them have been sold out of the country and it’s still too soon to predict how good they will be. One of his early foals did well on the Irish scene in ’07 when the colt son out of Murvey Cara took his class at Clifden. Among those showing early success in England we see Glencarrig Eleanor Ciúin ex Glencroft Amy.
Lightly shown, in ‘06 he was RDS Champion.in Dublin.and in the same year he also took Championship sashes at Ballyconneely and Oughterard Shows.
A top-class Dressage performer, many will have been lucky enough to see Siobhan Cazabon -Sullivan put Janus through his paces in Clifden. In ’08 he was Midlands Ridden Champion at Annaharvey with fourteen year old Emma O’Toole on board.and more recently Emma had been showing him successfully for what was to be his very last season in 2009. The pair secured the Reserve Ridden Championship at Galway County Show in June ’09 and they later won the Supreme Championship in Ardrahan.
While he could be ‘a real stallion and on his toes’ at breeding time, in general he was a gentleman and regularly ran-out with his mares.
Both Henry and daughter Emma, speaking of his ‘incredible temperament’, believed him to be ‘close to human’ as they describe how at Shows he seemed to know he had to be on his best behaviour, and he never put a foot wrong. This well-loved and respected stallion is buried in Connemara, close to the Castle Stud outside Clifden, where ponies of his former herd quietly graze the hillside near Clifden Castle, where, for a few short years, Janus was King.