FOR the second time in 2021, a Connemara Pony was sold for €14,000 at the Connemara Pony Sales in Clifden, Co Galway last Saturday. While the sales season was slow to get going early in the year due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, the Clifden Mart held a total of six sale dates in 2021, with the demand for the native breed holding strong throughout.

Last weekend’s sale was originally advertised as a one-day renewal but was increased to two days following large entries – 423 in total, including some 120 foals, as well as mares and geldings. Trade held strong with a 67% clearance rate, just short of the October figure (70%).

Three ponies were sold for a five-figure sum and topping the sale when through the ring on Saturday was Lot 73, Shanbo Max. The five-year-old grey gelding was a good example of how to use online advertising with multiple videos appearing on social media in the lead-up to the sale.

By Illaunurra Cathal, the big grey was turned out to perfection and lead around the ring by owner Emily Kelly who produced him to qualify for the RDS National Championships in August and the Pony Club All Ireland championships in combined training. Another plus for the eventual buyer was that the pony had passed stage five vetting.

The bidding flew up quickly to €9,000 before he was put on the market at €10,500. There was a tussle between an online and ringside buyer before he was eventually knocked down at €14,000 to Ballinasloe’s Kieran Egan who was, as usual, ringside.

A great supporter of the sale, Egan said of his new purchase: “I knew of the pony after he qualified for the RDS. He is lovely, he is very easy ridden, we rode him after coming home and he is very nice. He will probably be for sale again. Lisa Geraghty rides them for me here, and her sister Laura. My son John is based in England and I send an odd one over to him and David [grandson and Group 1-winning flat jockey].

“It’s a sellers’ market at the minute, ponies are very dear, but it is the only place where you can get a good amount of ponies. The oversized ponies are very popular at the minute which is why I wanted this fellow,” Egan added.

Ann De Courcey, spokesperson for Connemara Pony Sales, said: “We are absolutely delighted, it is the first time we had a two-day sale in December. This was our busiest year in 30 years of pony sales. We are very happy with the level of entries and particularity satisfied with the prices achieved and number sold.

“Ponies were exported all over Europe and further afield and the demand from the UK was particularly strong this year. We are delighted to see producers finally being rewarded for producing quality stock. Overall, the quality and presentation of stock has improved which is positive.”

Busy weekend for Gray

Earlier on Saturday morning, Lot 31, Parky Boy, was sold for €11,200 to Tiernan Gray, who bought a total of 15 ponies over the two days. Consigned to the sale by Maria O’Callaghan, the five-year-old bay gelding is by Park Ronan and described as a straight mover with good bone that had done some cross-country and show jumping.

Parky Boy (Lot 31) made €11,200 at the Clifden pony sales last Saturday when sold to Tiernan Gray \ Rynes Walker

At the end of a long session on Saturday evening, Sligo-based Gray paid €10,000 for the four-year-old All Smoke-sired mare CES Shes A Cracker (Lot 210). Sold by John Burke and described as a “very straightforward genuine mare with great potential over fences”, she was the highest-priced mare of the sale.

Gray also signed for Derryveeney Cindy (Lot 36), a four-year-old mare by Glencarrig Prince, at €9,200. Sold by Edward Wright, the mare was broken this year and has competed at five Showjumping Ireland events, ridden by a 14-year-old beginner.

The UK-based duo of Hannah Taylor and Patrick O’Gorman signed for the next two highest priced lots at €9,000 each. The first was Lot 12, Letterfore Pete, who went through the ring early on Saturday. By Knockillaree Tomas, the 150cm grey gelding was well turned out by seller Evan McDonagh.

Lot 12, Letterfore Pete was sold for €9,000 \ Rynes Walker

In Sunday’s session, the couple signed for Lahnaknock Knight (Lot 246), a four-year-old gelding by Glencarrig Knight, sold by PJ O’Sullivan. Buying 13 in total, other ponies to go to the yard of Taylor and O’Gorman included Lot 205, an unnamed six-year-old gelding by King Alton for €7,600, and the six-year-old gelding Mullagh Price CPD (Lot 48) who was purchased for €7,000.

Another regular to Clifden, Gerty Tynan returned to the midlands with 11 ponies. The highest priced she paid was €8,200 for the top-priced three-year-old, Cregganjack Cove (Lot 145).

The grey gelding was presented for sale by Hollies Byrnes. Tynan also signed for Mark Casey’s Irish Inpiere (Lot 25) at €7,800. The three-year-old gelding is by Doire Mhianaigh Cascade.

Foal trade

Sunday’s sale was breeding focused with some 120 foals offered, as well as mares and fillies. While the foal prices didn’t reach the highs of the October sale (€6,000), trade held up well throughout when plenty of breeders getting decent returns.

The top price of €3,000 was paid by Jim Roberts for Thomas Mitchell’s Wee Paddy (Lot 372), a colt foal by the Swedish import Bunowen Paddy out of the All Smoke dam Kathleens Pet.

The best priced filly foal was Lot 388, Carrabel Mona (Bohola Mirah – Carnlough Leanne). Consigned by Padraic Gibbons, she was knocked down to Tom Clancy for €2,650.

Connemara Pony Sales is now taking entries for their opening sale of 2022 which takes place on February 12th and 13th. There is a provisional plan to add sale dates in April and September subject to demand.