A Buyers Market
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For the past few years negative equity has loomed large over Connemara Pony Sales and the Mullingar Sale of registered Connemara ponies last Sunday was no exception. There was a good variety of ponies on offer – 248 were catalogued. The Sale was organised and run by the Midland Breeders group with all the skill and efficiency of this dedicated band of people, and the weather came up trumps too. But not the prices, which some Breeders said were the worst yet experienced. Of course the sale location was tailor-made for buyers so did they come in their droves to this venue right in the centre of Ireland ?
Unfortunately they did not come. Many beautifully bred and well-presented ponies from overstocked breeders went for the proverbial song. It was left to the likes of dealer Miley Cash and a French trader with an Irish base, Arnaud Bernollin, to ‘help-out’ the Irish breedersby buying 10 to 20 ponies each for their markets in England and France. A lot more markets abroad, for family-pony buyers, need to be built- up to give the benefit of Irish bred Connemaras to our overseas neighbours.
Prices: It seemed to Niamh’s Weblog that the best selling ponies in the main were the young Mares or Geldings with performance experience, and the two large sand arenas outside were useful for riders to show off their ponies’ talents. The best offers for these ponies were in the €1,000 to €2,000 bracket. Younger Fillies, Colts and Geldings were usually bid to less than €1,000 and often not more than €100 was on offer and many vendors took them home unsold. As for the Foals, both Colts and Fillies, bid offers were often in the low hundreds. Apparently the challenge of ‘buying young and bringing on’- with the risk as well as the satisfaction involved – is not being taken up on any large scale by present-day Connemara fanciers. They tend to want their ponies schooled and ‘ready to go’, but they still want them cheap.! Niamh’s Weblog has picked a few random examples of Mares, Fillies. Geldings, (there was not a lot of colts) and Foals, showing their photos and the money involved, and whether sold or unsold. Impressions and not hard sales facts are the focus of this piece. I am open to correction on all of this so please let me know if you spot errors.
The 4yr. old 145cms.Roswat Countess (Mountain Cascade X Balladoon Countess) is not broken but is well handled and her vendor Anita Mason was not happy with the top bid of €710 for her mare.
At the upper end of the age spectrum is the 18yr. old Class 1 Lisa Lady (Templebready Fear Bui X Killowen Jennifer). the 138cms. Mare, a Grade B Show-jumper, is seen here with Ciara Price. The best bid for her was €1,800 but her owner Donal Murtagh had paid €4,500 for her six years ago so she went home unsold.
The 8 yr. old Class 1 mare Archers Girl (Ard Archer X Cnoc an Mhuinnain). She has bred three foals and is currently in foal to Gwennic de Goariva. Owner Richard Whelan turned down a bid of €2,000, ruefully recalling the fact that at the height of the boom years he had paid €7,000 for this fine mare, a grand-daughter of Clifden Champion Ard Conneely.
Kieran McGrath is the owner/breeder of many show quality prizewinners and the three year old Class 1 Hazelrock Swallow is another one of these. She is by Coolillaun Cushlawn X Smokey Swallow, is already ridden and jumping a fence. He is currently overstocked and with seven other ponies in the lorry up from Galway, he accepted €1,070 for this one. In the course of the day he sold seven.
Coolfin K Club (Coolfin King X Coolfin Rosie) is a 143cms 6 year old Class 1 mare and is scanned in foal to Carracanada River (Templebready Fear Bui and a Ross Loobeen mare). She is “show-jumping royalty” according to Westport owner Kirsten MacDonagh who finds herself unhappily obliged to sell in these difficult times. €450 was the disappointing sale price.
Kirsten’s other mare the 7 year old Lucky Z (Currachmore Cashel X Lucky Anna) (“our prettiest mare”) has had a foal each year and has Westsdide Mirah as a grandsire. She has “a serious performance background and breeds athletic foals”. She sold for €500, a pittance in comparison with her cost €10,000 five years ago during the boom
Mary Tynan’s two smart youngsters remained unsold. Her grey-black 4yr. old mare the 142cm. Athenry Mint (Black Dandy x Manninard Mint) had a top bid of €550. The 3yr.old bay filly Garvagh Moonlight Star (Moonlight Silver Shadow X Garvagh Morning Breeze) won her class at the Midland Breeders Show this year but also remained unsold at €700. They are shown here with Christopher and Conor Whyte.
Ardee’s Lady, a 4yr; old 138cms. Is quite experienced for her age , having been hunted and ridden cross-country. She is by Robe Thunder out of Danesfield Queen and was sold as a Working Hunter prospect by owner Fintan Cosgrove to French Buyer from Lyon Arnaud Bernollin.for €800.
Agharanny Callie ( Gwennic de Goariva X Silver Mint) is a 2yr. old strong-boned grey filly and her owner Sean Hynes from Moate declined the €750 on offer.
Another 2yr. old grey filly Moneylagen Moonlight (Moonlight Silver Shadow X Moneylagen Copper). For Michael Tully vendor. the €575 on offer was not good enough for this pretty and lovely- moving filly and this was another ‘no sale’.
Geldings; Of the 4 Geldings featured here 3 were sold. Among them were two 153cms. ponies.
Lochan Lad (Earl of Newbridge X Rush Pool) has done quite a bit for a 3yr old. He is jumping a small course of fences and has hunted. He is strong- boned and looks an honest type. Owner Pat Mellett accepted €1,700 for him.
Clipped and looking ready to go was Rusheen Rouge (Currachmore Cashel X Connemara Lady) is a 6yr old who has competed at a training show and hunted. Owner Pat Mellett sold him for €1400.
This is a 5 yr. old gelding Derrymore Cracker (Derrymore Duncan X Bridie;s Bess) who is riding well and jumping cross-country. Vendor Fiachra Finnegan sold him for €1500. Lucia Stanley leading him.
Dargento (Monaghanstown Boy X Builders Lass) is a 3yr.old 147cms. He is well produced, lunging well over a pole and came 2nd recently in a showing class. Owner Dolores O’Brien did not part with him for the highest bid of €640.
Hannahs Silver Boy (Moonlight Silver Shadow X Roan Hannah) had to be one of the best prices for a colt foal at the Sale at €510 which a French buyer bid for him. The vendor Thomas Dempsey had won showing prizes with him at Ballinasloe and Midland Shows His dam is by Westside Mirah and his owner believes he has stallion potential.
This pretty grey-dun filly with a lovely head, Colmanstown Molly (Killyon King X Duchess of Highfield) was sold –or rather given away- for €140 by vendor Joseph Kinsella.
Acragar Queen (Carra Cashel X Noelle Dream) is a mature looking and well rounded filly foal. The dam is by the great Ashfield Bobby Sparrow and she remained unsold by Patrick J. Kearns.
Acragar Star is also owned by Patrick J. Kearns and this filly foal is by Brocklodge Buster X Reseda Theillet. The dam is by the top show-jumping pony in France, Fricotin who is by Glenree Bobby. She remained unsold.
This strikes me as a rather gloomy report ! Times are bad and everyone is feeling the pinch of the recession. It is the only time I have seen printed in a sales Catalogue words to the effect that brood mares have not been put in foal in the last couple of years because of economic conditions. 92 ponies sold in the Ring and many more sold outside. Selling was completed by 8pm. I hope the current lucky buyers appreciate the good value they are getting. But what goes down must come up again and hopefully it won’t be too long before prices recover to a reasonable level. Brazilian visitors lent an exotic touch to the day with Marcello having a pony in the sale. Working in Roscommon until recently, Marcello and Pipi are “gauchos” back home and all three have an interest in the Connemara ponies.
All photos © Niamh’s Weblog. For books go to www.marne.ie