Cross-Country Clinic & Bartley O’Sullivan Lecture ’13


Cross Country Clinic  & Bartley O’Sullivan Lecture, Performance and Connemara Ponies, Past, Present and Future

Portersize Just a Jiff
Portersize Just a Jiff

 On Saturday afternoon Olympian Camilla Speirs gave a Cross Country Clinic in the Clifden  Showgrounds.   A course of 5 cross-country type fences were erected and 4 Connemara ponies varying in age and experience were used to demonstrate the Instructor’s teaching instructions. In the 2012 London Olympics. Camilla Speirs rode her Half- bred Connemara Event Horse, Portersize Just a Jiff by Crosskeys Rebel.

Crosskeys Rebel
Crosskeys Rebel

This dun Connemara is by Island Lad whose pedigree contains the name of Carna Dun a few times, also Clonkeehan Auratum, and he goes back through pure native lines to Rebel and CannonBall.  So Crosskeys Rebel carries a combination of Native, Thoroughbred and Arab blood, like so many of today’s Connemara Ponies.  As you will see he is of the rugged type and apparently this sort of Connemara crossed with a Thoroughbred mare can achieve a good result.

Spring Snow on Muilrea
Spring Snow on Muilrea

This special type of clinic was a first for Clifden and was a very popular event for all those attending. The wind was cold that afternoon, as it was throughout the entire weekend when “that bitter black wind that blows from the left hand” to quote W.B Yeats, made the show-grounds feel like a Siberian winter outpost.

Working pony c.1900
Working pony c.1900

Bartley O’Sullivan Lecture
This was the fifth year of this Lecture which commemorates the late Bartley O’Sullivan, who was a founder member of the CPBS in 1923. 

garnet Irwin with Swallow 2 in 1935
garnet Irwin with Swallow 2 in 1935

During his long years as Secretary of the Society, he nurtured and cared for the revival, preservation and regulation of the Connemara Pony, which led to it’s becoming the top performing native breed of pony we see today. 

Creemully Western Melody jumping at Fontainebleu 2008
Creemully Western Melody jumping at Fontainebleu 2008

This year Niamh’s Weblog was very privileged to have been asked to give this memorial Lecture.  Along with a showing of some 70 slides at the Station House Theatre, the flyer as seen below was distributed before  the talk.  The idea was to show some performance ponies of the past and up to the present day and  to set people thinking about the future of the breed and other matters of general interest to breeders and owners.

Performance and the Connemara Pony, Past, Present and Future

A. Introduction, Early Days

B. Connemara Jumping through the Decades

C. “Courses for Horses”  Connemara Pony Events

D. Training for some Equestrian Disciplines    Dressage, Show-jumping, Eventing

Questions for the Breeder

1    Breeding for Performance  ?
2    Pony Numbers and Where are they Going  ?
3.    A Connemara Pony Centre  ?
4.    Height:  do we need to breed for more 13.2 ponies  ?
5.    A Part-bred Register  ?