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Ultimate Guide to Connemara Ponies

The Connemara Pony’s unique set of Nine Characteristics

February 22, 2022

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Connemara Stallion
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The Connemara Pony Breed 

The Connemara Pony, an Irish native breed, originates in the area of County Galway known as Connemara, West of Lough Corrib and bordering the Atlantic Ocean in the Republic of Ireland. 

The Connemara pony is considered an endangered breed under EU law. 

Brief History and Origin of the Connemara Pony Studbook 

In 1923 the Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society and Studbook was founded with the declared intention of preserving and improving the Connemara pony. 

The first studbook, published in 1926, listed ninety-three Connemara mares and nine Connemara stallions. The stallion list included three ponies who became founders of two of the five main lines which survive today. 

For ease of reference, these five recognized lines are distinguished by color. Amongst the first ponies recorded in the Studbook are Cannon Ball (1) and his son Rebel (7), founders of the Blue Line, and Connemara Boy (9), founder of the Red Line

The Green Line was established when Mountain Lad was registered in 1938. These three male lines are the only ones that can be traced to the foundation sires from today’s ponies. 

To expand the gene pool, the CPBS introduced outside blood, and during the 1940’s used three Irish Draught stallions, May Boy being the most influential. Three thoroughbred stallions were also added. Little Heaven was the most significant of the introduced sires, and his half-bred son, Carna Dun founded the Purple Line. 

In 1954 the CPBS bought a buckskin colt by the Arab stallion Naseel, out of a Connemara mare. This Arabian half-bred colt registered in 1958 as Clonkeehan Auratum established the Orange Line. 

Each pony can also be traced back through its dam and her dam line to a founding mare; however, since more mares than stallions breed, the descendants from any mare over several generations tend to be more branched and so instead of ‘line’, ‘mare family’ is the term used. The earliest born Connemara pony to have her dam identified in the Studbook was Grey Lass in 1932. 

The Connemara pony’s unique set of nine characteristics establishing a breed standard are: 

Type: compact, well-balanced pony with good depth and substance and good heart girth, standing on short legs, covering a lot of ground, good temperament, hardiness, staying power, intelligence, soundness, surefootedness, with athletic ability; 

Height: 128cm to 148cm inclusive; 

Color: grey, black, bay, brown, buckskin, palomino, cream, and the occasional roan or chestnut; 

 Head: well-balanced pony head of medium length with good width between generous eyes, pony ears, well-defined cheekbone, jaw relatively deep but not coarse; 

Front: head well set onto neck, crest should not be overdeveloped, nor set on too low, good length of rein, well-defined withers, good sloping shoulders:

 Body: body should be deep, with a strong back, some length permissible, but should be well ribbed up with strong loins; 

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; 

Hind: strong, muscular with some length, well-developed second thigh (gaskin) and low-set solid hocks; 


Movement: free, easy, and true, without undue knee action, but active and covering the ground. 

Traits of the Connemara Pony 

Along with great athleticism and versatility, the Connemara has an extraordinary kindness, a huge heart, and an ability to bond with their human handlers is unique to this breed. A gentle disposition is a Connemara pony’s most outstanding characteristic. In addition, its adaptability allows it to excel in all equestrian sports.

See our Connemara Ponies for Sale

Visit the Connemara Pony Breeders Society to Learn More

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