THE Connemara Pony Breeders Society launched its 96th Annual Connemara Pony Show in Clifden last Friday. The three-day show takes place at the famous Clifden showgrounds from August 14th to 16th next.

The festival begins with the Green Hunter Performance Final for four-year-olds and an International Performance competition with teams from Scotland, England and Ireland travelling to Clifden from the Dublin Horse Show the previous week.

The three-year-old loose jumping, sponsored by Horse Sport Ireland, takes place on Wednesday afternoon, alongside with the four-year-old performance mare class.

Thursday sees throngs of visitors from all over Ireland and the world gather at the Clifden venue to watch the best of the native breed vye for the prestigious championship title.

A revert in the spilt of the mare age classes this year welcomes a four and five-year-old class; a six and seven-year-old class; and a class for the eight and nine-year-olds. In a move to encourage owners with older mares and a foal at foot to enter in the show, a 10 to 15-year-old mare class is an interesting new addition for 2019 and it will be sponsored by McBreen Environmental for the next three years.

Friday sees the in-hand ring transformed into a performance arena with the hotly contested and highly competitive High Performance final taking place at 2pm on Friday, following a full range of working hunter classes. The last class of the day, the popular Puissance competition, kindly sponsored by Enda Morley, General Merchants, Clifden, keeps the crowds on their toes until the very end.

A Parade of Champions around the town of Clifden concludes the three days of competition.

The CPBS have this year welcomed an additional €6,000 sponsorship from Horse Sport Ireland, which will go towards the junior and supreme championships. Other much appreciated benefactors of the show are John Sweeney of Clifden Station House, Galway Crystal, Galway County Council, stalwart supporter Robbie Fallon and also Enda Morley.

The Connemara Pony Sales take place on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th of August at the Clifden Sales complex.