Connemara Ridden RDS’14

Ridden Connemara Ponies

Supreme Ridden Champion Plume de Kezeg
Supreme Ridden Champion Plume de Kezeg

Judges Clare Dew, Madeleine Beckman and nineteen young Connemara ponies with their riders and grooms, had an 8am start in ring 2 on Thursday but Niamh’s Weblog must confess to not having viewed this early Class. I will now fast-forward to Class 76 when seven powerful Connemara pony stallions entered Ring 2.

Called in to receive the Red Rosette was John Murray’s Plume de Kezeg, the 11yr.old Breton-bred  sire by Janus who has distinguished himself in both Ridden and Working Hunter Classes at Clifden, Cork, Oughterard, the RDS and many other Show.  He is currently ridden by Sadhbh Kelleher and they were also chosen by the Judges as this year’s RDS Connemara Ridden Champion.  The Reserve Champion too came from the Ridden Stallion class.

Reserve Ridden Champion Carracanada River
Reserve Ridden Champion Carracanada River

This Co. Mayo stallion Carracanada River by Templebready Fear Bui was ridden by his owner Kirstin MacDonagh – who had jumped him in the Performance Hunter the previous day.  Kirsten was also the owner of the former top Show jumper Ross Loobeen, the sire of Carracanada River’s Dam so she ‘knew the family’ pretty well.


Glencairn Ivy, Pauline Dahill
Glencairn Ivy, Pauline Dahill

Now back to square 1 and Class 73. The Class winner in the 4 and 5 yr. old Ridden ponies was Glencairn Ivy by Andy’Pride, a 4yr. old mare which was bred by Joan Dahill in Co. Waterford and has been schooled and advanced by Joan’s  daughter- rider Pauline Dahill.  This combination had taken the laurels in the Green Working Hunter Final  at Clifden Connemara Pony Show almost one year ago.

Roo Bella with Rachel Moore, Balmoral '13
Roo Bella with Rachel Moore, Balmoral ’13

Laura McWeeney’s Roo Bella by Coolin America, won her ridden class at Balmoral in 2013 (where this pic. comes from) and  got the nod for  2nd place in this Dublin Class of 19 young ponies.

Glencroft Aruba, Emma Byrne, Gardenvale Girl, Chloe McArthur
Glencroft Aruba, Emma Byrne, Gardenvale Girl, Chloe McArthur

Class 74 was for riders under 17 and Patrice Byrne’s Glencroft Aruba by Patty’s Bastian, ridden by Emma Byrne was the Red ribbon choice of the Judges.  Marina Wrays Gardenvale Girl by Monaghanstown Fionn was next called in and rider Chloe McArthur happily accepted her Blue rosette.  These younger riders had chosen outfits a cut above the rest in various shades of tweed jackets and colourful  hair ribbons, whereas the older riders favoured mainly brown or greenish tweed and plain ties.  Anyway all combinations were beautifully turned- out and much ‘coat whitener’ was obviously used before the Show. Naturally some ponies were spooked by the atmosphere and Ladies Day crowds, Pumch and Judy noises, and the large surrounding stands and buildings,  which is never ‘pony friendly’

Kippure Norma, Debbie Boylan
Kippure Norma, Debbie Boylan

Class 75  had 18 ponies entered and all rider riders were over 17 years.  The winner which was bred  by Orla and Michael Igoe, Kippure Norma is a 10 year old mare by Troubador and was ably ridden by Debbie Boylan Whyte.

Carrowkeel Jack, Heather M. Good
Carrowkeel Jack, Heather M. Good

She was followed into 2nd place by Ruth Good’s Carrowkeel Jack  by Clonberne Boy ridden by Heather Murray Good.  Congratulations to all of these winners.

Editors note.  Connemara Pony Showing as it now stands – versus the ‘faults system’ of competition jumping – is very much a question of a judges’ personal opinion and ability to differentiate between many similar white ponies coming before them in a class; is it really wise for a commentator to name names as each pony comes before a Judge? Many Judges may then recognise and be influenced by the names and showing records of many owners and ponies.  Agricultural Shows have traditionally been run on the basis that Judges do not know the animals that come before them and are thus free to evaluate what they see on the day.  Knowing that the current ethos of the RDS is to keep ‘mere spectators’  happy and the patter and the music going at all costs, it might be of more value to aid judges by supplying a scribe who will jot down judging comments- favourable or unfavourable- on each animal. These notes can then be consulted by judges before their final selection. PS Many owners I know will agree with this!     Pictures, except Roo Bella© Niamh’s Weblog

More Ridden Connemara photos

4 thoughts on “Connemara Ridden RDS’14

  1. Dear Niamh
    I would have to agree with your comments. I thought the naming of the owners this year was excessive and the naming of the pony is also unnecessary(as done in previous years). They should simply call out the ponies numbers if so to inform the crowd, isn’t that what the catelogue is for?
    Also a peeve of mine is that in all previous years judges took notes of individual performances and of in-hand displays. The ponies were then called into their final placings by number and not by simply pointing at the pony by which the judge remembered. As they are a large group of mainly greys it takes some photographic memory to choose all the ponies in their correct order.
    I was also sad to see that ponies were not allowed to do their usual “RDS” individual show and instead were told to do a specific show which did not really sort the wheat from the chaff as no pony got a real chance to show off with the traditional (expected) gallop down the back line. I am sure this was a surprise and disappointment to many, both spectator and rider.
    I also noted that some of the turnout was not to the usual RDS standard and the trimming of some ponies was by breed standards simply, excessive.
    Finally I would like to mention that one of the lady stewards told some of the riders after their in-hand display was finished to simply “get up, get up” with hand ushering!!! How hard is it to say “you can mount up now”. Is this the future???


    1. Hello Kieron
      I was really pleased to get your comprehensive and well thought-out comments. I am in agreement with all of your views. thank you for taking the time to write.
      Maybe someone ‘up there’ will listen. Niamh


  2. I to would agree, naming ponies, breeders and owners is crazy! As was mentioned calling out their numbers should be enough for spectators. And this year they simply weren’t going on performance. There was a certain pony highly placed who didn’t even nearly gallop. Which is to be expected in the class. The judging needs to be marked to see what way ponies are being scored. I presumed manners, ride ability should be highly counted but obviously not this year with some ponies!


    1. Thank you for your comment Mick. Maybe by next year the RDS might abandon the naming process. They might try instead to explain to audiences – at intervals – what exactly Judges are looking for in the Connemara Ridden classes and also give some history and information on the breed.
      Best wishes


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