Connemara Pony – Capaillín Chonamara
Their lifespan is 30 to 40 years. The average height is between 14hh – 14.2hh making them one of the bigger pony breeds. Although the Connemara pony is officially a native breed, it originates from Scandinavia and Spain. In 795 AD the Vikings brought an earlier version of the breed but it wasn’t until the Spanish Armada ran aground in 1588 unleashing some Andalusian horses, that the Connemara as we know it came about.
With a strong back and short muscular legs, its physicality is perfectly suited to the craggy and untamed terrain of the Connemara landscape. Connemara ponies are famed for their good nature and kind eyes. They are notoriously hardy and great for both children’s and adults and were known for working with families on farms right up to the mid 20th-century.
The ponies were used to pull plows, carry turf and haul in seaweed to fertilize the land, as well as bring the family to Mass of a Sunday. Despite their smaller stature, Connemara ponies adapted to the terrain in their local area by becoming fabulous jumpers and are famed globally for their ability in the arena.
In the 1930s, a 22-year-old, 15-hand Connemara gelding, called The Nugget, cleared a 7′ 2″ jump and went on to win over 300 international prizes. A 14.1 halfbreed Connemara named Stroller was one of only two horses to jump a clear round in the entire 1968 Olympics. The Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society was founded in 1923 in Clifden, Co. Galway aiming to protect and further develop the breed. You can see this beautiful character in our Farmyard Féasta book by clicking here