Due to a writing project which is currently occupying my attention full time, very little Connemara Pony news has appeared on this Blog in the past few months but I can’t let another month go by without a few words about the recent passing of two long-time stalwart supporters of the Connemara pony, especially in the performance sphere. Last February I was much saddened to hear of Deirdre Scott’s death and as recently as two weeks ago, that of Lady Anne Hemphill was announced in mid July.
Deirdre will be remembered in more recent years for her production of some top class ponies in the Connemara Performance world. To mention but a few; Just 2 years ago at the Clifden Connemara Pony Show, Deirdre produced her young Connemara, Ben Bán Playboy, to win his Stallion Working Hunter Class and take the Reserve Performance Championship with young Aaron Quinn. They stood beside the Champion, the gelding Derrygimlagh Atlantic Storm, also produced by Deirdre and ridden by Aaron. In 2012 she is seen standing beside her Green working Hunter winner Benny Liath ridden by daughter Philippa. Deirdre concentrated on giving her two children great pony days out after she had taken many prizes herself in her Dublin days showing young Hunters and Eventing. She also put in many hours of hard work for the Irish Pony society in her years as Western Area Chairperson. Niamh offers belated sincere condolences to her husband Phillip and their children, Philippa and Christopher.
Lady Anne Hemphill is pictured in 2008 receiving her Connemara Pony Award from Society President, Tomás MacLochlainn, in recognition of her breeding, producing and promoting the Pony over many years throughout her life.
I think now of Lady Anne talking about the long day that little 8 year old Anne Rutledge spent standing at the gate of her house in Mayo awaiting the arrival of her first pony Peggy who was being delivered on foot from Screebe in south Connemara by her breeder. She kept a photo diary on the beloved Peggy showing the pony grow and develop to health and maturity under the TLC of her young owner. Paddy Daly is pictured leading her out on her first hunt in the 1940s. In adult life she also took a keen interest in carefully breeding the best Connemaras and her Tulira prefix became internationally well known. As Lady Anne Hemphill she ran the Galway Pony Club in the1960s and the Galway Team won the National Eventing championships, qualifying for the English Pony Club championships, where the Galway group also took Gold. Tulira Máirtín, bred by Lady Anne, produced many top quality ponies including Tulira Rocket an Eventer and Grade A Showjumper. Patsy Fagan was another outstanding pony, ridden by the Hemphill daughters, and was individual Show-jumping Pony Club Champion on three occasions. In 1970 the Tulira Breed Parade showcased the Connemara stallions carrying the recently introduced outctoss breeding lines promoted by the Breeders Society, helping to create a new interest in Ireland’s only Native Pony in Ireland and abroad. Her recent prizewinning ponies included the stallion Tulira Roebuck and the little mareTulira Katie Daly who had a long and successful career as a top ridden and jumping pony. Lady Anne judged countrywide and attended many Connemara Pony events in her later years and she always displayed a friendly face and a kindly interest in other people. Our kind regards and condolences go to her children and grandchildren. Both Lady Anne and Deirdre Scott will be very much missed.
Awards photo;Tom Broderick. Old family photos; courtesy Lady Hemphill.