Horseboxes, Trailers and Lorries filled with Connemara Ponies travelled to the centre of Ireland for the Midlands Show in Mullingar on the last Sunday in July. This Show is very much a community effort and with forty Connemara Classes listed to take place in the spacious acres of the Mullingar Equestrian Centre, which included various Championships and Clifden Qualifiers and also the Loose Jumping Qualifiers held in the Indoor Arena, all hands were needed on deck for a long day. Niamh’s Weblog got off to a good start when the Gate Steward kindly offered to move his own jeep elsewhere to allow us in! The layout of the 4 Rings was well-ordered with banks of chairs at vantage viewing points making it very spectator-friendly.
The In-Hand Classes in 2 adjoining Rings included the Midlands All-Ireland Broodmare Championship and the Ridden and Working Hunter Rings 3 and 4 which were thronged with competitors until late in the evening. Classes were missed out on but some photos were taken in each Ring, at different times.
The Junior In-Hand Champion and Reserve were chosen from the ranks of the Three yr. old Fillies (winner of the Ruth Rogers Cup) and the Three yr. old Colts. Clifden’s Michael O’Toole led the winning Three Year old Filly, Castle Cleo (Glencarrig Knight X Castle Gypsy) to win the Junior Championship Class, on only her second outing this year. At Corrandulla Show in June Castle Cleo had received her first Championship Sash. Bred and owned by Peter O’Toole, her breeding includes Marble, Carna Bobby, Ashfield Bobby Sparrow, Kimble, and Village Star. Reserve Junior Champion was Joe Burke’s Aniar Cashel (Banks Timber X Gowlane Star), shown by Joe’s brother Tommie to take the Red Rosette in the Three Year old Colt Class (Sean Dunne Trophy). Bred by Eamonn Burke, the bloodline includes Cloonisle Cashel, Rebel Wind, Marble and Abbeyleix Owen. Now back to the Yearling Colt Class:
Peter Keane was happy to take the Winner’s cup back to Galway with his dun Ben’s Lightening Star (Lightening Star X Derrynamacka Rose) with Westside Mirah and Abbeyleix Fionn in the back-breeding.
Seven Two Year old Fillies paraded before Judges John Varley and Cathy Wood but the one which caught the Judges eyes belonged to Sarah Phelan of Killashee in Longford with Manor Gentle Robyn (Frederiksminde Hazy Match X Lockinge Aconite). The breeding here goes back to Coosheen Finn, Village Boy and Rebel Wind.
The Two Year old Colt winner was the strong dun pony, Cleggan Gallop (Kippure Columbus X Poona Schueracher), with Errislannon, Connemara owner Bartley Conroy. The dam’s unusual name comes from a mix of breeding nationalities, Irish, English and French, going back to Island Earl, Carna Dun and Noble Star.
Murvey Rocco (last year’s Mullingar Junior Champion) was the sole entry on the day in the Four to Six Year old Stallion Class. His owners Jack and Bernard Keaney from Roundstone were awarded the Wilma Stud Cup for this prolific Stallion Class winner, Murvey Rocco (Glencarrig Knight X Murvey Rita), goes back to Janus, Abbeyleix Owen, Curachmore Cashel, Kimble.
The Seven Year and Over Stallion Class winner for the Abbeyleix Fionn Cup was Ballyconneely’s Terence Sweeney with his handsome stallion Dunloughan Troy (Currachmore Cashel X Bay Lass). Breeding taces back to Abbeyleix Fionn, Leam Bobby Finn and Bridge Boy)
In the Class for Mares 13.2 and under, the wee North got a look in when Co. Down man, Ian Donnan led in Uptoyou de l’Aulne (Clifden de L’Aulne X Bailen de Kergroas) to win the Durcan Cup. This 8yr old French bred mare carries breeding lines of Tulira Mairtin, Killyreagh Kim and Carna Dun.
The Young Handler winner was 12yr old Camilla Snow Coyne from Letterfrack with her Rockfield Lass (Laerkens Cascade Dawn X Newtown Grey)
One of the major Showing Classes in the Midlands Breeders Thirteenth Annual Show is the All-Ireland Broodmare Championship, with new Judges stepping in, namely Clare Oakes and Heather Wright. And Ring One is enlarged to accommodate Fifteen broodmares with foals and their handlers also, a fine sight for breeders and fans of these ponies. The winner was Pat Kearns with Loughmor Suzy (Linsfort Barney X Hazy Rebel). Her bloodlines come from Village Boy, Kingstown Molly and Murphy Rebel; and the Kearns family were happy to take the Lady de Vesci Cup back to Co. Laois.
Chosen in Reserve place was Cork’s Liam Cotter with Ardnore Silver Lady (Glencarrig Lexus X Ardnore Seabird). Called in to Third spot was Connemara’s Cathy Snow Coyne with Kilpatrick Snowdrop (Moorland Snowy River X Kilpatrick Holly). Both of these lovely mares are prolific Show prizewinners for their owners.(see Gallery)
The Four to Six Years old Mare Class with eleven mares, mainly led by girls, added another Red Rosette to the Midland winnings of Peter Keane, this time with the 4yr old Seafield Rose (Coolillaun Cushlaun X Kiltullagh Lass) Seafield Rose gained a championship at Galway Show earlier this season and seems to be following in her dam’s wake as a Show prizewinner. Forebears include, Currachmore Cashel, Abbeyleix Fionn, Boden Park Finnard and Gloves Misty. In the Class for Seven to Ten year old Mares, there were 8 ponies but only 3 foals were to be seen.(is breeding slowing down?) Liam Cotter and Ardnore Silver Lady with foal were again in the Ribbons, taking a Red this time. Back-breeding includes the genes of Abbeyleix Owen, Village Grey,Coosheen Finn and Scarteen Mistral.
Class 12 for Mares Eleven Years and Over was won by Blackwoodland Silver Beam (I Love You Melody X Murvey Silver Lor, with some French Connemara blood, going back to Island Earl, White Granite and Appollon Pondi.
In Hand Champion and Reserve: Before heading back to the far west of Connemara, Overall Show Champion was the Junior Champion Castle Cleo and Dunloughan Troy was Reserve Show Champion. View Midlands’16 In-Hand Gallery © Niamh’s Weblog.