Connemara Pony

Connemaras come from Ireland, more precisely from the Irish west coast. The area there is rocky and hilly, which is why the ponies are considered very sure-footed to this day. The fact that Iberian horses were crossed into the Connemaras in the course of time is easy to imagine given the baroque, sturdy physique. The Connemara pony is not only a compact pony for dressage riding, its specialty is above all jumping. The powerful pony is quite impressive in show jumping and is quite suitable for adults. The Connemara is also suitable as a children’s pony: mainly because of its balanced character. It is considered honest and reliable, with not too little temperament and forward drives.

Origin and History

The Connemara ponies used to be used by the farmers in their homeland as pack horses and riding horses. They carried large baskets that were attached to their backs on both sides, or they pulled them behind them on simple sleds. This is how two types of ponies came about: a somewhat coarser type that looked like cold blood and a lighter riding horse type that predominates today.

Connemara ponies come from Ireland’s Atlantic coast, an area with lots of rocks and a rugged coastline. It is a poor region in which the vegetation is rather sparse. The Connemara ponies, which often live outdoors all year round, are therefore used to rough and stony pastures. In addition, there is often a steady wind and it rains a lot: 250 rainy days a year are possible in this area.
In the 19th century, however, the breeding of Connemaras in Ireland suffered greatly from the fact that the population became very impoverished and the ponies were simply no longer able to feed. As a result, the ponies were often sold as cheap pit ponies to Great Britain, where they were worn out in the mines. It was not until the beginning of the 20th century that the Connemara breed was rebuilt in Ireland, and the Irish Connemara Pony Breeding Society was founded. In the first few years, thoroughbred and Irish Draft stallions as well as an Arabian stallion was specifically paired to improve the breed before the studbook was closed in the 1960s.

The Connemara-Pony Interest Group has existed in Germany since 1972, organizing breeding and performance shows and contributing to the systematic development of breeding in Germany. The Connemara Pony Association has also been breeding the breed since 1996. In 2018 there were 297 registered broodmares and 58 stallions. Connemaras bred in Germany are now sold worldwide. But horses are also still being imported from Ireland: In some cases, animals are bought specifically to improve breeding, but there are also dealers who buy cheap horses in their homeland in order to market them here.


The friendly character of the Connemaras is widely praised. However, one must not forget that intelligent ponies can also be fiery and spirited! But even with this, they usually remain sociable and can be handled by their people.


Connemaras look more like small horses than ponies. They have riding horse points such as a long sloping shoulder, a long back with a good saddle position, and a wide, well-muscled croup. Her head is noble, she looks kind. The step is striding, the trot is comfortable to sit on. The canter of many Connemara ponies, on the other hand, is above average, their jumping ability is legendary. It is said that there are Connemaras that can jump over two meters high. In the past, duns were particularly common in Ireland, but now most of the Connemaras are gray. But there are also foxes and browns.

Suitability / Use

Connemaras are great leisure horses: sure-footed and in good health, yet strong enough to carry a small adult. You can also see them in driving sports or, above all, in jumping competitions. If the legend is true, then one of the most famous show jumpers in the world, the gray Milton, who was very successful under his rider John Whitaker, is descended from a Connemara stallion.


In their homeland, the ponies usually live outdoors all year round. This type of keeping is also the best for us for the robust ponies: A reasonable shelter, mud-free floor, sufficient space, in short, a well-managed open stable, is certainly the best way of keeping a Connemara.

Diseases Typical of the Breed

Connemaras are considered to be resilient and durable. They rarely seem to have musculoskeletal problems. The only exception: a dreaded hoof disease that is inherited. HWSD (Hoof Wall Separation Disease), in German: Hoof wall separation disease, in which the formation of the horny substance is disturbed from birth. Diseased animals suffer from unstable hoof walls that crumble so that they walk on the sole. In severe cases, the sick animals are not viable. Fortunately, genetic testing has been possible for a few years now and is highly recommended as a large part of the breed is affected. The HWSD seems so far only to occur in Connemaras.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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