Exactly how the Connemara came to be is uncertain, although it is likely to have first appeared during the 16th century when Spanish horses (probably Andalusians) from the shipwrecked Armada came ashore in Ireland and bred with native stock. Some claim this is mere legend and that the Connemara actually descends from Scandinavian ponies brought to Ireland by the Vikings.
The Connemara was first recognised in County Galway and has existed on the rugged, unspoiled landscape ever since, developing into a hardy breed with strength and endurance. In order to enhance the breed, Arabian blood was added in the 18th century, as well as Hackney and Thoroughbred influence.
This leant the Connemara to even greater speed and stamina, however too much crossbreeding began to affect the strength of the bloodline, leading to the formation of the Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society. Established in 1923, the Society aimed to preserve the bloodline and increase breed numbers and today the Connemara is bred worldwide, from Ireland to Europe, North America and South Africa.
Characterised by a height between 13-15 hands, well-conformed legs, a strong head and coat colours of grey, black, chestnut, palomino and cream, the Connemara is an attractive horse with good balancing and definition.
The Connemara is known for its great love of food and has been known to eat an entire bowl of fruit through a kitchen window when unobserved.