Clifden 2013 (Click on pic to enlarge)
On Tuesday night of the Connemara Pony Festival, The Abbeyglen Castle Hotel in Clifden was the venue for the International Reception and Photo exhibition.
There was a short ceremony to honour the work of Pat Lyne when Tomás MacLochlainn of the CPBS made a special presentation of the Michael O’Malley Award and scroll to that doyenne of Connemara ponies. Pat Lyne is a well-known author and Connemara Pony breeder and is renowned for her research and books on the native ponies and their Connemara guardians and for her generous legacy, the setting-up of the Station House Museum in Clifden.
It was also an occasion when the 5th Bartley O’Sullivan Lecture, hot off the printing presses, on the topical subject ‘Performance and the Connemara Pony, by Niamh O’Dochartaigh. was made available to all pony enthusiasts at the old-fashioned price of only €5.
This convivial social event launched the serious start of the next three days Show Week, when everybody with an interest in the Connemara Pony settles down to a feast of viewing the Native pony in all it’s guises, whether it be shown in hand, or as a German based four-in-hand carriage driving demonstration, or being ridden and jumped by riders of all ages.
Already done and dusted at this stage, were popular happenings such as the bus tour to visit Pony studs in the Moycullen and Spiddal areas, the International Societies conference, the election of the Show Queen and the launch of another new pony book by childrens author, Clifden’s Nicola Heanue. Show week in Clifden – as you can imagine – is now a hectic and eventful busy week.
On Wednesday the Connemara Green Hunter Final, now in its 3rd year, got off to a prompt start. Nine 4yr olds were jumped over a basic Working Hunter track and then ridden by Ride Judge, eventer Jane O’Flynn, under the watchful eye of Judge Mary McCann, of Ashfield Bobby Sparrow and Cruising fame. Winners sashes went to two ponies- both home bred- which had jumped clear, been well ridden and also marked on conformation and way of going. Pauline Dahill is no stranger to the Cliften ring and once again was top of the line this time with Glencairn Ivy (Andy’s Pride X Murvey Bridie) bred by her mother Joan in Lismore, Co. Waterford.
The 2nd placed combination, also a family affair, with a home-bred gelding, Silver Earl (Kilmore Diamond X Castleside Killiney), was ridden by Lisa Hockley and is owned and bred by her sister Jackie Hockley from the far North, Eglington in Co. Derry.
Both these ponies had been travelled lengthy distances to qualify together at the Midlands Show and then further distinguished themselves at Clfden with a 1st and 2nd. Well done to ponies and riders, and not forgetting Mammies! Your 4yr. olds behaved so well with no ‘tantrums’ or resistance.
A skillful driving display by the Droege family from Germany and their four Connemaras made for a demonstration of precision driving with a well-schooled team of athletic ponies, which faultlessly skimmed the barrels placed short distances apart in the showgrounds and managed intricate loops and circles, bringing back pleasing memories to those who had seen them perform on their last visit 7 years ago.
The final of the 3year old Loose Jumping competition ran in the sand-arena and the Family pony Working Hunter took place in Ring 2 during the rest of the afternoon. Sorry, no joy, as Niamh’s Weblog was unable to be there. See www.marne.ie for Books info.
Missing caption is “2yr old Colt, 2nd , Hazelrock Cruise with Claire Lacy” Pics in this Slide show belong to Thursday Classes, and were accidentally omitted in Thurs. Slide show.