Documentary by David Shaw Smith Scroll down for pics. For caption move cursor on pic.
♦ Madeleine Beckman of the Carnaby Stud in Sweden has very kindly answered a query which has generated some comments (see below on this page). Going to her website I find this very clear picture of Thunderbolt (see 2nd last pic in Gallery below) taken in Connemara in 1975. That is 6 years after his name appeared in the 1969 Clifden Show book which shows Mikey King with a distinctly ‘white’ pony. (See rearing stallion in the centre of the Picture Gallery.) Madeleine, thank you, I hope you did not mind me using your picture to illustrate the different ponies involved.
This short film features Connemara people, their lifestyle and their ponies and depicts a wondrous unspoilt landscape and a half-forgotten rural daily life of over forty years ago.
The filmmaker of the later “Hands” series brought to this film his deep love of the landscape and his empathy with its inhabitants and produced a picturesque and evocative work, with scenes of rare birds, wildflowers, gambolling rabbits and fox-cubs set against a background of the ever-crashing Atlantic seas. The late night birth of a foal, one of the first to be recorded on film, is followed by pictures of a scampering healthy foal with its dam, a day or two later. He records the partnership of farmer and work-pony, either gathering and transporting seaweed for use as fertilizer, cutting and transporting turf, cutting corn, or saving the hay. Usually there is a foal trotting alongside, which will be sold before Winter to provide a little extra much-needed income for the family.
Padraig O’Raghallaigh, reads the script penned by Lord Killanin – for many years a President of the Connemara Pony Breeders Society. Noel Kelehan’s specially composed music complements the film work and Sally Shaw Smith is responsible for sound and art work. We see former Connemara Breeders Society Council Members such as Donal Kenny and Michael O’Connell at Inspections, and at Clifden Show you will spot breeders of the era – some no longer with us, showing their ponies, as well as some well-known judges of the day. As a Connemara pony fan you will want to view this film over and over so you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to secure a copy. Or contact David Shaw Smith at “Hands”, Ballyglass, Claremorris, Co. Mayo. To brouse the website visit www.irelandstraditionalcrafts.com
Gratitude is due to Joan Hawkins, Kevin Bolger and Padraig Hynes who helped with identities.
p.s. If you know the name of the rearing stallion with Mikey King, please tell!!
The 2011 issue of An Capaillín will hopefully carry an extended version of this piece with some different pictures. Due out before the Connemara Pony Spring Festival in March 2012.