first horse was a surprise birthday gift as a teenager. She was
a very pretty 4 year old dun mare of unknown breeding. I kept
her at pasture with some former neighbors who then had a farm
about 15 miles away. I would spend days at a time with my mare
but had no real goal or instruction to help me improve my skills.
I started playing at various activities with my mare: driving,
barrel racing, jumping! That was it; I loved jumping!! Unfortunately,
both my mare and I were very green and no one at the barn new
anything about it. And, it wasn't very easy jumping in a Western
I met a new friend at school who was a "pony clubber"
and rode in an English saddle. I started taking riding lessons
on her horses and ponies, then would go home and try to train
my mare. My mare was willing but could be very sneaky and was
usually more timid at shows. Together, we had no success in the
show ring. On the other hand, my new friend's ponies were absolutely
wonderful. Granted they had better training and were more experienced.
But, they also had personalities and reliability that enabled
me to form a deeper partnership with and on which I could really
enjoy my new love of jumping.
showing and pony club years were cut short because of a job transfer
that forced a family move and, worse, the sale of my beloved mare.
After that, I only had short episodes of horse involvement during
high school, then on through college. During this time, however,
I always had the secret goal in the back of my mind of becoming
a breeder. After I married, I presented the idea of breeding horses
to my "suburban" husband. He said, "Sure, Honey.
I'll help you breed a couple foals." lol!!!
problem was that I didn't know what breed I wanted. Over the next
few years, I began a more serious study of breeds and attributes
but nothing seemed to really fit. I wanted something that reminded
me of the steady partnership I was able to develop on my friend's
horses and ponies when I first learned to jump. I wanted a breed
that was not too large and not too small, being that I was only
5'2", fully grown. I had to have horses with sound mind and
body, who were not spooky (I hated a horse that would shy), and
were easy-keepers. I wanted stamina but not excitability or nervousness.
And finally, a brain that would retain the good training and forgive
a bit of the bad, would certainly be a huge bonus. My Animal Science
schooling and practical experiences with horses over the previous
decade gave me a measure of confidence that I could start a breeding
I wish I
could remember exactly where it was that I first read about the
Connemara breed, but the minute I read the breed description,
I was certain that this was the breed for me. So, I started my
search for my first Connemara mares. I traveled to about 4 states
and met some wonderful ponies and finally found my first 2 mares:
an 11 yr. old, 14.3 hand gray and a 7 yr. old 13.2 hand dun, both
already in foal. They were completely wild and had lived their
lives turned out with bands of mares and stallions. Some of my
friends said that both my mares and I were totally nuts. These
mares were as wild as mustangs and had never been handled until
the day I decided to buy them! I have never had a single regret.
they say, is history! I have produced dozens of Connemara foals
and some Conn/TB crosses since then and have also been able to
enjoy them for my riding pleasure as well. I have managed 5 stallions
and have competed in hunters; dressage and eventing, as well as
enjoyed lots of trail rides, foxhunting and hacks around the farm.
All while pursuing a corporate career and raising two children.
I am sure that I would not have had the same success with another
breed. I have had some wonderful teachers and mentors to help
along the way but most of our knowledge has come through practical
experience. Both my husband I have had lots to learn but these
ponies did the teaching; for starters, we learned that there is
no need for a Connemara to be wild. They are so kind and easy
to gentle; they truly enjoy their interactions with humans. I
also learned that my friend's horse and ponies, on which I learn
to jump, were Connemaras! Then, I understood why I knew so clearly
what it was I needed in a breed; I just didn't know the name for
husband (a real rancher by now) nor I would ever consider changing
breeds. We are both quite biased toward our wonderful, kind, talented,
smart, willing, intelligent, sound, versatile, Connemara Ponies
who are worth their weight in gold. I can't image my life without
Me on our
stallion, Balmullo's Beacon (2001)