THE staging of the much-loved annual Connemara Pony Show at the Clifden showgrounds is in doubt, after the Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society confirmed there is an issue with the warm-up sand arena.

In a social media post this week, the society said: “A safety concern related to the sand arena in our showgrounds has been evaluated by external experts and, in consultation with our insurance company, it has been strongly advised that the sand arena should not be used until further notice.”

“The well-being and safety of all our members, participants and their ponies are of paramount importance. We understand the impact this decision may have on planned activities, such as the colt inspections and possibly the CPBS Annual Show and we appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we prioritize safety above all.”

The post sparked a barrage of questions and concerns from members, owners, riders and visitors seeking further clarification.

One commenter asked: “Could you please clarify as many international visitors have already purchased flights, accommodation and car hire at considerable expense”.

Some questioned whether the statement heralded the possible moving of the show out of Clifden, while others applauded the society for addressing the surface, which they described as having been sub-par for years. The grade and the source of the sand used in the arena was another hot topic among commenters, as was the timeline, with some wondering how a show six months away might still be impacted.

In a since-deleted response to one comment, a committee member referred to the presence of stones and ungraded sand and said quotes were being sought from specialists to fix the problem.

The world-famous and much-anticipated show was first held 100 years ago and attracts visitors from all over the globe.

The CPBS committee declined to provide The Irish Field with any further comment or explanation outside of the statement above.