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Connemara Ponies and 10 Rules for Breeding

February 10, 2022

I'm Lisa, Equestrian, Connemara Pony Breeder, and Award Winning Photographer. This is my Journal.

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Connemara Ponies and 10 Rules for Breeding

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If you want to breed quality Connemara Ponies, you must stick to what you consider is your ideal Pony. When I first began to think about my perfect Pony, I studied photos of ponies who attracted me and exemplified breed standards as I understood them.

Some resources to help you identify your Ideal Pony:

ACPS Digital Library

Connemara Pony Photo Archive

Niamh’s Weblog

Remember that you are breeding Connemara Ponies and stay within your understanding of the breed standards. 

Carefully read and understand our breed standards because we do have breed standards. The goal of any breed standard is to help breeders visualize the characteristics and traits that should be included as typical for their breed. The standard guides observers (especially breeders and judges) as to what should be ideal, what is borderline, and what is outside of breed parameters. Each breed has a unique phenotype, which is a combination of appearance, performance, and behavior. Breed Type includes all characteristics that make each breed unique. Animals that strongly express breed type are referred to as “typey.” Typey ponies have a subtle but important overall appearance that stamps them as not simply random-bred. 

The aim of every Connemara Pony breeder should be to preserve and improve the breed. The objective is to breed compact, well-balanced ponies with character and rideability. Breeders using selective mating are encouraged to strive for the characteristics outlined in the breeding standard. In addition, we should endeavor to guard genetic diversity and preserve genetic diversity through mindful and ethical breeding practices. 

INTERNATIONAL CONNEMARA PONY BREED STANDARD

  1. Type: compact, well-balanced Pony with good depth and substance and good heart room, standing on short legs, covering a lot of ground, good temperament, hardiness, staying power, intelligence, soundness, surefootedness, with athletic ability;
  2. Height: 128cm to 148cm inclusive;
  3. Color: grey, black, bay, brown, buckskin, palomino, perlino, cremello, and occasionally roan or chesnut;
  4. Head: well-balanced head of medium length with good width between large kindly eyes, pony ears, well-defined cheekbone, jaw relatively deep but not coarse;
  5. Front: well set onto neck, crest should not be overdeveloped, neck not put on too low, good length of rein, well-defined withers, good sloping shoulders;
  6. Body: Body should be deep, with a strong back, some length permissible, but should be well ribbed up with strong loins;
  7. Limbs: Good Length and strength in the forearm, well-defined knees and short cannon with flat bone measuring 18cm to 21cm, elbows should be free, pasterns of medium length, feet well shaped, of medium size, hard and level;
  8. Hind: strong, muscular with some length, well developed second thigh(gaskin), and low-set solid hocks;
  9. Movement: free, easy, and true, without undue knee action, but active and covering the ground. 

Breed equally for Connemara type, character, performance ability, and trainability. 

The Connemara Pony is not just a type and not just performance. Breeders should aspire to deliver the complete package. 

TRAITS OF THE CONNEMARA PONY

The Connemara pony began as a sturdy, compact, well-balanced, versatile pony with good conformation and willingness to work. Over time, less suitable ponies were weeded out. Today, the Connemara Pony is celebrated for its legendary character, natural jumping talent, athleticism, soundness, and desire to please. Confident jumpers, Connemara Ponies are treasured for their big stride and an even bigger heart. 

Never forget no, hoof no horse. 

If a horse can’t be usable, it has no usefulness; the Connemara Pony breed won’t endure if all we can do is look at them. Therefore, breeders should always strive to breed correct conformation and for soundness. Never sacrifice on limb quality; always strive to produce ponies that stand four square and move straight and true. Correct conformation is the foundation on which a pony’s successful future is built. Correct conformation increase’s a horse’s fitness to perform, prolonging the length of its career.

HWSD, SCC, and Grey Horse Melanoma are heritable conditions affecting the Connemara Pony. Connemara Breeders can utilize genetic screening to avoid producing an affected foal and assess risks. Connemara Breeding stock should be screened for HWSD and Occular Sarcoma (SCC). Knowledgeable breeders are well versed in genetic screening and keep abreast of new information as it becomes available. 

More Information:

Connemara Pony Hoof Wall Separation Disease (HWSD)

Gray Horse Melanoma

Occular Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

Always aspire to breed a pony of usable character and performance ability. Neither is adequate without the other. 

There is no reason we cant strive to breed ponies that have it all. Gimme!

Follow the lead your ponies set for you. Capitalize on their strengths while striving for improvement. 

Evaluate your Pony’s strengths before you consider its weaknesses. All ponies have both. Before dwelling on the negatives, you must determine how favorable their good traits are. Always strive for improvement. 

Breed onwards. Wonderful new surprises may be awaiting you. Acknowledge them when they occur. 

It’s not hard to improve the offspring of an average mare in one generation. What is challenging is to improve the offspring of an extraordinary mare generation after generation. That takes real vision, understanding, and intuition. Go ahead and dream

Don’t be afraid to appreciate the qualities of others ponies. Breeding is a competition with yourself, not with others.

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