Golden Older Ponies: Murphy Rebel

Go to  if you wish to visit Niamh’s new books site or see

Murphy Rebel
  1976 – 2011.    S 696 (by Rebel Wind X Muffy) this year (2009)  has reached the ripe old age of 33.  He is semi-retired but still in demand by mare owners and has already covered 3 mares this April.  Since 1990 he has been with owner Philip McMahon in Co. Cavan.  Philip has a very high regard for his stallion which he describes as “the old type of pony having a wonderful temperament. You didn’t need a headcollar or bridle on him at all when he was covering mares, just open the stable door and he came out, did the job and took himself quietly  back into the stable again”.  Murphy has always been a fertile sire, Phiip recalls a season when, of the 105 mares covered, 93 went in foal. He has produced many Grade A showjumpers and performance ponies. Murphy Rebel was bred by Martin Conneely on Clifden’s Sky Road and later owned by Stephen Heanue of Clifden who bought him as a foal and had him registered at age three as a stallion in ’79.  His breeding was pure native on the male side as the Rebel Wind line had no infusion of outside blood and traced back to Rebel and Cannon Ball.  His dam Muffy had a plenty of outside blood in her pedigree being a daughter of the part -Arab Clonkeehan Auratum.  She also had Thoroughbred blood going back to Thistleton.  Muffy had wins at Clifden and so too did her progeny and she is said to have passed on the Arab highly strung temperament and beautiful movement to her foals.

Murphy Rebel won the Connemara Championship at Galway County Show in 1991, with Philip McMahon
Murphy Rebel won the Connemara Championship at Galway County Show in 1991, with Philip McMahon

Rebel Wind was a much used stallion in Connemara and left  34 other stallion sons apart from Murphy Rebel, including the well known Marble, as well as 275 daughters,  so obviously played a big part in the expansion of the Blue line in Connemara. * Dara Heanue’s father Stephen Heanue often showed the stallion at Clifden but, says Dara, this pony, who sired a long line of showring winners, was himself  often overlooked in the ring.  (interesting Comment March ’11) 

Padraig Heanue remembers travelling with his father and Murphy Rebel in the early eighties on the stallion run to places like Roundstone and Ballyconeely and Carna in a narrow old horse box and the pony would cover 5 or 6 mares in an evening.  He describes the stallion as rather an old type of pony with good bone but with a slightly plain head. The Carna area mares suited him best as some of the quality lighter boned mares were in that area.  The stallion spent three seasons in that area so there is quite an influence of Murphy Rebel blood  there.  “Murphy was easy enough to manage but never over-quiet, you always knew it was a stallion you were holding”.  Murphy was briefly with the late Val Moran in Westport for about a year until Philip McMahon bought him in 1990.    

Coral Prince with Bobby Bolger at the RDS in 1993
Coral Prince with Bobby Bolger at Dublin Horse Show 1993

Murphy Rebel’s progeny are too numerous to list but he is known to have bred three Clifden Supreme Champions for Bobby Bolger of Derrygimbla near Ballyconneely who actually took the Supreme 5 times with these ponies.   Murphy Rebel’s  son Coral Prince out of Snowdrop Surprise was the first to take the Supreme Clifden Championship in 1993. The following year’s Supreme was Queen Gillian, this time a daughter of Murphy Rebel  and Gillian.  1995 saw the Murphy Rebel mare

Queen Gillian, Clifden Supreme 1994 with Bobby Bolger
Queen Gillian, Clifden Supreme 1994 and 1999 with Bobby Bolger
Coral Misty, Clifden Supreme 1995 and 1997 with Bobby Bolger
Coral Misty, Clifden Supreme 1995 and 1997 with Bobby Bolger

Coral Misty out of Gurteen Misty take the Supreme, a feat which she repeated in 1997.  And in 1999, Queen Gillian came to the fore again and won the Supreme for a 2nd time.  Other Clifden winners of his were Moorland Juliet (1989)out of Lucky Juliet and Derry Playboy.G.(1983) out of Milford Gazelle. Others among Murphy Rebel’s own well known progeny (apart from the Clifden Champions are (1994) a successful showjumping Stallion out of Irishtown Diana,  Murphy’s Oscar gained 176 points when jumped by Philip’s daughter Fiona some years ago and in 2001 the pair won the Ridden Championship at Clifden.  After a jumping break Oscar is now back jumping clears in the show jumping arena.    ♣♣  June 09, An American link to Murphy Rebel.    Brenda Kiniyalocts from Ohio in the U.S. is the proud owner of a performance Connemara stallion, a grandson of Murphy Rebel.  Her Robuck is a son of Tulira Roebuck and Lecarrow and Lecarrow is by Murphy Rebel.   Robuck has distinguished himself in Dressage and Eventing circles and has received the American  Connemara Society’s “Award of Excellence”.  ♣♣

Murphy's Oscar, Clifden Ridden Champion 01 with Fiona McMahon
Murphy’s Oscar, Clifden Ridden Champion 01 with Fiona McMahon

  A wonderful progeny record for this prolific and popular stallion.  Murphy Rebel was lightly shown himself but he seldom went to Clifden and never actually won a first there, taking a 2nd in ’82 and a 3rd in the confined stallion class on another occasion.  His wins were elsewhere.  He took Championships at Westport, Ballinalee, Galway and other major Connemara pony Shows but it was as a sire that he left his greatest legacy.

Ferdia (1989) out of Wireless Wave, Catamaran 1984 out of Miss Charger, Rebel Justice 1990 X Tulira Lily, Curraghnakeely Murphy’s Holiday 1006 ex Glenvalley Nikita..  Gurteen Paddy 96 and Gurteen Rebel 97 ex Gurteen Misty. Fairy Hill Murphy out of Kingstown Fairy who went to England.   Village Laddie and

Murphy Himself prizewinner with Rachel Blackmore
Murphy Himself prizewinner with Rachel Blackmore

Murphy Himself out of Belcara Rose. The last two are performance geldings.

Rickamore Crusheen Rebel X Gortmore Dolly, new stallion in 2009
Rickamore Crusheen Rebel X Gortmore Dolly, new stallion in 2009

 A new Murphy Rebel stallion son, the recently passed Rickamore Crusheen Rebel out of Gortmore Dolly shows the substance and quality of his sire and will be standing in the Galway area this year.

Independent with Cathal Mullen, Roundstone Show 08
Independent with Cathal Mullen, Roundstone Show 08

Among the daughters are Independent (1996)  who is out of Gurteen Star, Lecarrow out of Lor Ruadh 2nd  and Village Queen out of Village Grey. Lishmar Rebel (1999) and Lishmar Fiona, both ex Moy Dawn.

His grandson Lecarrow King  ex Lecarrow is a popular young  prize winning stallion and is now winning under saddle in England.

Coral Mistys Comic, Declan O’Flynn

  Today many Murphy Rebel descendents are to be found in Ireland and the

8 Coral King '92 X Queen Gillian
Coral King out of Queen Gillian Enter a caption

U.K. Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden France and Germanyand the United States, where the name Murphy Rebel is treated with all the respect it deserves.   He died in 2011 at age 35.

6 Coral Misty's Jane T.conn 055
Coral Mistys Jane, Tom Conneely, Roundstione Show

34 thoughts on “Golden Older Ponies: Murphy Rebel

  1. We have a son of Coral Prince,so grandson of Murphy Rebel who has won at BSPS champs and NPS Champs and in 2009 qualified for Horse of the Year Show as a working hunter pony on his only outing. He is ridden by heavyweight mum,jumped upto 120 with son,hunts with daughter and fabulous mover,bought out of Cavan from Oliver Scollon.


    1. Hello Jane
      Your pony sounds like a top class all-rounder. Can you tell me his name and that of his dam. ? If you send a photo I can put a bit about him on the site. Glad to hear from you.
      Happy Christmas, Niamh


    2. Hey there was looking at my ponies blood lines and was wondering if u could help me my ponies shire is village canal beau and grandshire is coral prince and gt grandshire is murphy rebel just wondered if u new colours and how many hands or if u had picz would be fab or some were I can look them up. X x


  2. hi, just would like to clarify something regards murphy rebel which is that he was in fact exhibited most if not all years at clifden pony show by his then owner and my father stephen heanue. his outstanding success of breeding superb ponies always will outweigh the fact that he was overlooked in the show ring. thank u. regards dara heanue.


    1. Thanks for that information Dara. I will add something to the Murphy Rebel piece to include your father. How did M.Rebel do at Clifden for him?
      Best wishes


  3. We have the Turlough Rebel. He is the son of Curraghnakeely Murphy’s Holiday who was the son of Murphy Rebel so we have Murphys Grandson. Heis the spitting image of Murphy!


  4. I have an overheight gelding by Murphy Rebel he will be 10yr this year Boden Park Roderic out of Ricca, lovely pony but not brave!


  5. I had Oisin grey owl which is murphys son! he was a 138cm grey gelding a grade a showjumper the most honest pony you could get sadly he died in September 2011 of Colic:( he was 1 in a million! money couldn’t buy such a good pony!!


  6. Hello, would love to know if any pony/horse is related to oisin playboy prince, & if they are could they leave a reply, would love to know as I own oisin playboy prince and he is the best pony in the world he is perfect..:)add me on facebook if you know any information cacey-Jayne cox x


  7. Does any body viewing this article happen to have any details/photos of Temple Hill Jasper?? he is a stallion son of Murphy Rebel and the sire of our cross bred filly. would love to know what he looks like :-)


    1. Sorry Becky, I’ve no picture but I’m sure you’ll find one if you keep looking some more. Did you google the name or the All breeds Data Base might give you some info. Best wishes. Niamh


  8. Really interesting to read so many wonderful stories about Murphy Rebel progeny. I have a fantastic 7YO gelding (Muckrim Storm) by Coral Prince out of a Moy Hazy Cove dam (Newtown Pride). As with the other comments he has a beautiful character, very gentle & extremely intelligent. To date he has been very successful in the dressage arena where he excels with presence, cadence & obedience. He is currently training at Medium level & finding half pass & pirouettes a doddle! He is a real preformer, but also a delight to own & have around the yard where he likes to learn new tricks.


  9. We have a gorgeous 10yr old gelding by Murphy’s Oscar he is called Oscar Wilde, he is a super all rounder, he is competing affiliated dressage, he has evented with his previous owner & my daughter does pony club with him. He is so talented at everything he turns his hoof to & also has a great temperament.


  10. Hi,
    I have a Connemara mare by Murphy Rebel… She is 21 now and I’m looking for another! Wanting something 8 or younger again by Murphy rebel/ his offspring as she is the most amazing pony and all the stories about Murphy Rebel I would just love another! If anyone knows of any for sale is appreciate it!


    1. Hello,
      Well today I had to put my beautiful mare to sleep. Her name was Loch Sheelin, her sire was Murphy Rebel, Dam Holiday Mayflower.
      She was 28 and riddled with internal melanomas. She had a great life with me for 16 years- she was so so special.
      I’d love another similar pony- anyone out there know of anyone breeding this line?


  11. Hi, I was wondering if anyone had any information on my horses sire and dam? My horse was bred from Ferdia and Murvey Cherry Cove, and Ferdia was bred from Murphy Rebel.


  12. Hi :)

    My 20 year old mare was covered by Coral Prince in 1999 if I have read her green book correctly. Desperately trying to find a photo of her foal! Would anyone have any advice on what to search or where to look?? Or is it an impossible task?

    I have written a letter to her breeder as id love a photo of my mare as a foal too & who I believed owned her in 1999 but they may have moved address so I’ve taken to the internet and I came across this page, hope someone can help :)

    Thanks, Laura


  13. i have a 10 year old mare by Murphy Rebel.
    I have bought her twice!i think I should keep her now.
    She looks very like him


    1. My mare was out of Murphy Rebel- I lost her today, aged 28. She was so so special.
      Would love to see photos of your mare.
      Trying to find one with similar breeding.


      1. I am so sorry to hear this Fiona and send you my heartfelt sympathy. I hope that you will in time remember all the happiness your mare brought to you, she was a good age. I
        I am a huge fan of Connemaras, I rode a superb 14.2hh Connie mare as a child and she punched above her size! We currently have a fabulous 15hh dapple grey mare age 6 out of a Murphy Rebel mare, ie, a granddaughter of Murphy Rebel. Her sire is I Love You Melody. She has a superb jump in her and she has a look of Murphy Rebel about her. We adore her.
        Sending you our well wishes.
        Clare and family xx


  14. Loved reading this article .
    I’ve got a 10yr mare Blackwoodland Canterbury Bella
    Sire : Gurteen Paddy anyone got a pics ?
    Grandsire: Murphy Rebel
    Great gransire : Rebel wind

    Bella is a 100% performance connamara


    1. I have just acquired a granddaughter of Murphy Rebel. My connemara is a beautiful dapple grey 5 year old mare out of I Love You Melody and a Murphy Rebel mare called Gurteen Kate. My mare is called Gurteen Maeve and was bred by Cathay Mullen in Galway. Temperament to die for, intelligent, easy to do and always looking for the next feed!


  15. I have just recently become the very proud owner of Victoria Belle. Her sire is Coral King whose mother Queen Gillian was a Murphy Rebel daughter. At 3 years old she has the looks and temperament to die for!
    I have been trying to find out more about her dam, Mist Belle , daughter of Robe Thunder dun and Cookstreet lady.
    She really has the face of an angel and clever, quick to learn, incredibly brave too for a 3 year old.
    Hoping she will fill out because she is very light , almost looks like a perfect porcelain china pony !
    Currently stands at 143 cm. The only amusing thing about her conformation is her ears !! They are huge !


    1. Hi Jane, I have Gurteen Maeve, a granddaughter of Murphy Rebel too. Gertie is amazing, age 6 and just out competing. Still green but a jump to die for! Also very beautiful, dapple grey starting to go whiter. She is full up 15hh and muscling up! A dream horse. Enjoy your mare.


      1. How lovely! Gertie is a great name and very exciting to have just started getting out doing things with her.
        I hope my Bella grows. The seller was a bit naughty and told me she was 14.1 hh but she’s only 13.3 and despite having a very old head on young shoulders she really does look like a baby, hence we call her baby Bel !
        I not sure if this site allows pictures I would love to show her off! And see yours too!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.