THE decision by the Connemara Pony Sales team to run a new one-day sales fixture in April paid off last weekend when prices for the native breed continued to hold their own with five ponies selling for five-figure sums, bolstered by a solid 74% clearance rate at the Clifden sale house.

Ann de Courcey of the Connemara Pony Sales, commented: “We were very happy with the big entry for the first ever April sale. It was again a very good sale for broken and ridden ponies, there was no shortage of bidders for well turned out ponies with work done. The market, we felt, was not quite as buoyant for the younger stock but it still held up.

“There was a lot more online activity and maybe not as many people around the ring. Overall we are very pleased and look forward to the two-day sale on May 21st and 22nd.”

The buyer of the most ponies last Saturday, Mayo show jumper Tiernan Gray signed for the top lot at €13,500. That was Elizabeth McGuinness’ 11-year-old grey mare Lady Maggie who measures in at 148cm. By Martan Phaidin Noir, she is out of a Corcullen Silver Belle dam, and has 12 Showjumping Ireland points.

“She is a nice well used mare. She has a nice bit of mileage and was just an all-round nice commercial pony to sell on again. She suits my market well,” Gray told The Irish Field.

The 23-year-old is based just outside Ballina where he is runs a deadling yard. “I am dealing and selling them on. I try to fit them to the best family that will suit them. I still do a bit of show jumping but my older brother, Trevor, does more of it.”

Having signed for a number of mares on the day, Tiernan added, “I wasn’t purposely buying mares, just whatever sort that comes along that I like. The Connemaras are a good trade, they are a nice pony to have and they are easy sold.”

Busy day

The UK-based partnership of Patrick O’Gorman and Hannah Taylor bought 10 lots, including the next highest lot and top priced four-year-old, Menlo Sweet Bay (Lot 49), at €12,200. By Blakehill Sparrow, the 15.1hh gelding, sold by vendor Amy Finn, has hunted and been schooled over show jumps and across country.

Menlo Sweet Bay was sold for €12,200 on Saturday in Clifden \ Rynes Walker

At €12,000, Niall Daly signed for Caoimhe Duffy’s five-year-old 148cm gelding Curryroe Monty Sparrow who is by the Grade A jumping stallion Cheeky Bobby Sparrow out of the Glenayre Silver Fox-sired Banaghan Beauty. He was described as “brave and honest” and well-schooled over cross-country fences.

Patrick O’Gorman bought two more of the five-figure lots. He had the final say on Martin Connors’ Carrowmaneen Boy (Lot 188), a five-year-old gelding by Precious Otto, at €11,900. Having hunted with the Galway Blazers, the 150cms gelding was described as “a genuine pony who would make a top class working hunter and also has the making of a super event pony who would soon go up the levels.”

Earlier in the day, O’Gorman purchased Lot 117, Knockmoy Jack (Dunlally Lad), for €10,700. Consigned to the sale by Luke Corcoran, the four-year-old has competed at training shows and schooled over cross-country fences.

North Yorkshire-based event rider Katie Stephens gave €9,500 for Lot 116, PJ’s Watson’s five-year-old mare Rathcline May who, by Gwennic De Goariva, is described as “a super natural individual who loves her job”. The mare will be aimed at eventing under Stephens who breeds and produces Connemara ponies for eventing.

Also going to the UK is Lot 201, the six-year-old gelding Suileen Storm (by Anbally Storm), purchased by Hayley Wragg from Zoe Gillen for €9,400, as is Lot 205, Kieran Feeney’s four-year-old gelding Bay Bui Shadow (Rocklawn Elvis) who was signed for at €9,000 by Tara Baker.

Patrick O’Gorman also gave €9,000 for another gelding by Precious Otto, the four-year-old Dara Robert, sold by Glenn Turley.

Tiernan Gray signed for four more in the top 20 lots, including the eight-year-old mare Twilight Ruby (Lot 176) at €8,700, the seven-year-old mare Ballywell Girl (Lot 1) at €8,600, and he gave €8,400 for the five-year-old mare St Clerans Daphne (Lot 103).

Midlands buyer Gerty Tynan was not onsite but was active throughout the day online, securing eight lots. The highest priced of those was Lot 93, Munhin Dew, for €8,000. As always, the UK was the biggest overseas market with 22 ponies making their way across the sea. Six ponies were sold to both Denmark and German, two to Sweden and two to The Netherlands, and 56 of the 143 sold were online.

Gwenni's Gold (Lot 109) was the highest priced yearling at the sales in Clifden making €5,000 \ Rynes Walker