Spring Festival Mar.25 -28 ’10

Photo Exhibition & Colt Inspection, Bartley O’Sullivan Lecture & Sales

Nina Gustafsen with Soc.President Dermot Power, Sec. Niamh Philbin & Tom MacLochlainn,

The Society Breeders who got together on the first night of the Spring Festival in the Clifden’s Abbeyglen Castle Hotel had the privilege of viewing an impressive collection of the Connemara Pony photos of Sweden’s Nina Gustafsen.  A keen photographer who first arrived in Ireland in 1974 with her husband on honeymoon, Nina has been snapping the pony in it’s native habitat ever since. 

Rose Fitzgerald, Southern Connemaras & Emer McNamara, Conn.Soc.

Many of the early stallions and mares you’ve heard about but never saw, were there.  For both young and old alike it was a pleasure to see these previously unseen photos. Nina has now very generously gifted the entire collection which is to stay in Ireland with the Breeders Society.

Colt Inspections, a brief look

Inspectors marking the Colts

Friday dawned beautifully warm and sunny, a perfect Summers day, and 20 three yr old colts were rigorously put through their paces for entry to the Stud Book by the Society’s Inspection Judges.    Unlike previous years when the entire selection process conveniently took place in the Show-grounds, this year’s on-going works in the grounds made this impossible, so the Mart was also used for part of the Inspection procedure.  Still, 16 happy owners were pleased to have their colts passed and the work-in-progress in Ring 1 in Clifden should be completed in time for the August Pony Show. 

Fredericksminde Lorenzo with Nina Gustafsen

Photographer Nina Gustafsen herself had one of her Swedish-bred colts passed  Pic..and Fredericksminde Lorenzo (Coosheen Finbarr X Fredericksminde Mathilda) is now with Cian Geoghegan in Co.Mayo who bought him as a yearling. 

Illaunurra Cathal with Pat O'Neill

 Illaunurra Cathal (Gurteen Cathal X Village Mist) bred and owned by Ballyconneely’s Pat O’Neill   He goes back to Coral Prince and Village Girl. 

Kilcreest Ross with Kevin Bolger

 Kilchreest Ross (Coral Ross X Annagh) and grand-sires are Murvey Ross and Robin Hood. He belongs to Eamonn Ford of East Galway and is shown here with Kevin Bolger.  

Callow Rory with Roger Joyce

 Callow Rory (Rory Rasputin X Callow Valley), he has Chiltern Thunderburst and Glenvvalley Grey as grand- sires.  He belongs to Tom Hernon in South Connemara and is pictured in the Parade on Sunday with Roger Joyce who will stand him in Oughterard. 

An amazing five sons of multiple Champion Curraghmore Cashel were passed in the recent inspections. 

Letterdyfe Rira

Letterdyfe Rírá who is out of owner/breeder Cáillín Conneely’s Letterdyfe Ruby was passed at Clifden. 

Dunloughan Troy with Terence Sweeney

Passed also was Terence and Carol Sweeney’s Dunloughan Troy who is out of Bay Lass. These last two are by Currachmore Cashel.

Mairtin Nee, the best viewing spot





Bartley O’Sullivan Lecture presented by Pat Lyne:  The Influence of Arabian Blood in the Connemara Pony                

Stephanie Brooks and Pat Lyne, old friends

Author and breeder Pat Lyne delivered her well-researched presentation of the known Arab influences to an  appreciative audience in Clifden’s Station House Theatre on Saturday night after the Sales. Many overseas members of the Society, from France, Sweden, Finland, Britain and the U.S were there.  The inaugural Lecture in the Bartley O’Sullivan series, had been given this time last year by the well-respected pony expert, Lib Petch, on the Thoroughbred Influence in the Connemara Pony.  

In his introductory remarks Tom MacLochlainn noted that all major horse and pony Breed Societies worldwide had used Arab blood over the years to successfully improve the quality of their stock and the Connemara Society had been no exception.  Pat Lyne explained that there had been records of Arab blood introduced by Connemara land owners, including Humanity Dick Martin of Ballahinch, who had been presented with twoArab stallions by the Shah of Persia. in the early 1800’s.  The Society actually purchased a son of the Arab stallion Naseel as a foal in 1954 and registered Clonkeehan Auratum in the Studbook as a two yr.old.  While there had been a guarded acceptance of the introduction of this foreign blood into the Connemara breed – many breeders in Ireland as well as in Britain, just did not like the ‘Arab’. Pat has always been in favour of the ‘quality element’ coming through in the Connemara and is adamant that both Thoroughbred and Arab blood has gelled to good effect in the contemporary Connemara,. The booklets of both the Thoroughbred and the Arab Influence, well illustrated with many photos old and new, are now on sale in the Office of the Society.  Contact www.cpbs.ie for further details.  Bothe of these booklets are well worth buying for anyone interested in the breed.

 Noel Cochrane was the clever and very humorous auctioneer who – even after a long days work in the Sales Ring- royally entertained the crowd as he auctioned off the donated items which included a painting by breeder Maria Levinge, a Munster jersey signed by the team and a limited edition print of  famous winning race-horse Best Mate from breeder Henrietta Knight. 

 Sales Impressions   

                                                                                                   There were 160 lots on offer in the Catalogue at at the one-day Sale at Clifden Mart during the Festival Weekend but many of these returned home unsold as the bidding in most cases did not live up to expectations. The Sale was confined to ponies 3 yrs. old and over and many of these were either geldings with some work done or in-foal mares.  

Sheer Rebel and Megan de Souza

Megan de Souza hoped her pony, Mairead Fitzpatrick’s 4yr. old gelding Sheer Rebel by Murphy Rebel X Sheer Bliss, as yet unsold,  would go to a good home.  She described him as brave and well-mannered, who had always been placed when shown in hand and had done some training shows.  Many useful riding ponies and well-bred mares were led out of the ring unsold.  These would have been snapped up a few years ago. But the buyers were not there (as they had been at the February Sale) and not too many ponies were even bid up to €2,000.  

Castle Gigolo with Ciaran Curran

 The exception to the rule here was a stunning grey (white) 6 yr.old stallion, shown by Ciaran Curran for Cian Geoghegan of the Blakehill Stud in Co.Mayo.  This was Castle Gigolo with a top class pedigree, being the son of Seoigeach and Castle Misty with a shower of Show ring winners in his background.  The stallion had 15 SJAI points achieved over a short period in ’09.  He went to two Sligo brothers, George and Tommy Bagnall who plan to use him on their herd of 10 Connemara mares.  The price was a whopping €9,5000.

Rosscon Fiona with P.J. Watson

The next highest price  came from a Kilkenny buyer who bought  P.J. Watson’s home-bred Rosscon Fiona  by Boden Park Finnard X the premier mare, Cooloo Lady, for €4,000. 

The 6 yr.old Coosheen Lilla by Glencarrig Prince X Coosheen Linnet, sold to a Cork family for a price in the region of €3,000.

Hylandy Princess

The feel-good story of the Sales has to be that of the 5yr.old in-foal mare Hylandy Princess by Derrymore Duncan X Highlandy Lady.  When last seen at a sale some months ago this mare was in really poor condition.  She has since been well fed and given extra care and what we saw at the Saturday Sale was a much transformed pony, a complete turnaround.  Her present owner – whose project she was – hopes that, as yet unsold, she will go to a good home shortly. For information on the Sales please click on www.connemaraponysales.com or email info@connemaraponysales.com