If ever there was a sport pony or small horse identified with eventing, it would be that quintessentially Irish breed, the Connemara, named after the Connemara region of County Galway, in the west of Ireland. There are all kinds of legends about the origin of these tough, hardy athletes, so pick one. Who`s going to prove you wrong?
1.The Vikings brought their ancestors to Ireland. Or, 2. They descend from the extinct Irish Hobby. Or, 3. When Spanish galleons from the Armada ran aground, in 1588, Andalusions got loose, and interbred with the native stock.
There`s also Arabian, thoroughbred and hackney blood in there, or so they say. Who cares? The Connemaras I know are little jumping and cross country machines, sort of the pony answer to the thoroughbred/ Registered Irish Draught crosses that kick butt wherever eventers duke it out. The typical Connemara is an interesting mix of stocky and breedy, strong loins, crested necks, attractive heads, strong hooves and limbs, an all around athlete in a small package.
In the undiluted pony form, the Connemara is a great kids mount, but plenty of small adults crave them, too. But crossed with the thoroughbred, the sky seems to be the limit. I had a stallion, Forfeit, incewhose dam, Fru, an international show jumper, was said to be part Connemara, and her full brother, Foster was an individual bronze medal winner in the 1968 Olympics. Another of my advanced eventers, For Pete`s Sake, was supposedly out of an unregistered Connemar mare. He could jump as well as any horse I`ve ridden.
Since I`ve personally had a couple of advanced eventers which were part Connemara, I`d have to say that`s my pony breed of choice. They`re tough, they`re good jumpers, and they can gallop. They outcross well, and they tend to be sound. If I could get in one of those time machines, and go back to being ten again, that`s what I`d ride!