Tolka Bridge at 36

Ballinahinch river November 09
Ballinahinch River & Benlettery Nov.’09
   TOLKA BRIDGE        On 3 April 2013 I received this email from Joe Burke.   We know this pony will be missed by all the Burke family.
                                      I am sorry to have to email you today to tell you of the sad loss of one of our oldest and dearest mares, TOLKA BRIDGE. Just days after yet another of her colts was given class one status in Clifden and her most famous son is the reigning Clifden champion, she passed away in the field at our house which has been her home for the last 18 years since she has been with us. She has been our foundation mare and is solely to thank for making our stud what it is today. At 36 she was still the boss in the herd until yesterday afternoon when she lay down to die. Anyway I just wanted to say thanks for doing the profile on her last year.

Regards, Joe

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Tolka Bridge
Tolka Bridge at 35 retired at home in Galway

Foaled in 1974 Tolka Bridge (Bridge Boy – Statia) is still hale and hearty and definitely the head-mare with her retired female herd at the ripe old age of 35.  Her breeder was Ml. McDonagh of Rosscahill and Eamonn Burke of Castlegar in Galway bought her from Pat Finnerty as an 18 yr.old mare in foal to Catamaran in 1992.  She had previously had a number of foals, including some colts who remained  unregistered, as this was in the 1980’s and early ’90’s when poor prices were the norm for the Connemaras.  She has ever since belonged to the Burke family and more than earned her keep, as a broodmare, producing  9 more foals for her current owners until her last foal in 2007.  Among them was a top prizewinner  in England, the mare Ellabelles Cashel (Cloonisle Cashel) foaled in ’98,

Clooneile Cashel & Tolka Bridgea
Clooneile Cashel in ’99 with Tolka Bridge

but Tolka Bridge’s  best known and most successful stallion sons were still to come, and were foaled when she was aged 25 and 26.  These were Cloon-Eile Cashel  (Cloonisle Cashel) in ’99 and Currachmore Cashel by the Blanche Miller bred then 20yr old Rosenharley Rowley.   Both stallions have won numerous prizes in the Show rings of Ireland but Currachmore Cashel has probably attracted more laurels than any other stallion in his lifetime so far. In 2008 alone he was judged Supreme Champion Connemara at Clifden, the RDS and at Roundstone Champion of Champions Show.

Curraqchmore Cashel & T.BridgePIC_0107
Currachmore Cashel with his dam in 2000

Eamon’s son Joe who shows the stallion in the ring, says of Currachmore  “easy to manage, he is so laid- back, a real softie”.  The stallion has also featured as a Ridden prizewinner in 2007.  Currachmore has passed on his bone, strength,  presence and quality good looks to his progeny and many are now regular Show Champions. In fact few Shows in the country went by this past summer without a Currachmore Cashel colt or filly being in the limelight.

Copy for edit of IMG
The Cert or ‘papers’ issued before Passports in ’86

For the Connemara breed, Tolka Bridge has certainly been a real treasure.  The Cert. shown here was issued to Eamonn Burke in ’95 to replicate her original lost Cert of the late 70’s.  Passports were introduced by the Society in 1986.

Currachmore with Caroline Leighton 07
Currachmore Cashel with Caroline Leighton in ’07

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3 thoughts on “Tolka Bridge at 36

  1. My father bought her for us asa 2yo, my younger brother jumped her and both of us hunted her even though I was around 18 and she is only 138cm she was a super pony to hunt


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