Ballyconneely Show is an important marker in the Connemara In-hand Shows of the West. They would normally have run two riding classes at the end of the day, but this year they decided to give the ridden ponies and horses too, an extra day to themselves. So Saturday saw a large local group of all types, sizes and colours of equines gathered in the Showgrounds to take part in eight Riding and In-hand Classes, only three of which were confined to Connemara Ponies- for riders under 16 and riders over 16 plus a Gelding in hand class. You had Lead Rein, Young Handlers, Open Side-saddle, Local Ridden Pony, and the largest class of the day – the Open Ridden Class for any type of Horse or Pony to be ridden by rider of any age – catered for everyone. Only the weather was not on its best behaviour and an annoying drizzle lingered over Ballyconneely all day.
In the class for Connemara pony with rider over 16, Grace Murphy’s Gelding class winner, Smokey Biscuit (Glencarrig Prince X Smokey Star) took the honours ahead of
Judy Cazabon’s Draiocht na Mara (Loobeen Larry X Lisglassick Laura) ridden by Ruth Brennan.
3rd was Katie Curran on Templebready Penny (Glencarrig Prince X Templebready Starling)
The under 16 winner was Ciara Connolly with Gleann Rua Hoodwink (Abbeyleix Owen X Gleann Rua Morning Mist) Gleann Rua Hoodwink with Ciara Connolly, under 16 Ridden winner
This pair also are fast making a name for themselves on the Working Hunter circuit.
In second place was 10 yr. old Alana Sullivan – a promising young Dressage rider – on Judy Cazabon’s Taibhse na Mara (Village Boy X Bibi D).
Jane Reid stood third with Errislannon Berberis (Castlestrange Fionn X Arrislannon Blanda) Trophy and Red rosette in the Side-saddle class went to Ruth Brennan on Draiocht na Mara
while Emma O’Toole was 3rd on Taibhse na Mara.
While he might have been a tad unconventional in his dress style, James de Courcey on Neantóg (Laerkens Cascade Dawn X Slán Abhaile), ably demonstrated that the Connemara pony is eminently suitable to be ridden and enjoyed by the rider of more mature years.
On the other hand, the Connemara can also safely carry the smallest child -as in the Lead Rein class-, and even win the Championship for it’s small rider. The lead rein pony, 6 yr old Clochánard Dawn by Libero Justice X Hillside Heather is bred and owned by Clifden’s Olivia Staunton and ridden by her daughter Sadhbh O’Toole also aged 6.
The Show was a first day out for a number of children and their ponies and it was good to see them in the ring. In the Local Ridden Pony class Elise Galand aged 11 was riding in her first ever Show and was delighted when her new pony Errislannon Charlie (Ashfield Cathal X Celebration) won a blue rosette.
Darwyn O’Halloran on Monaghanstown Tara (Monaghanstown Fred X Tara) was equally happy to be well placed at her first Show.