Sunday Feature: Jimmy Canavan the Connemara Pony Breeder


Jimmy Canavan, Moycullen, Co. Galway had his first connection with Connemara ponies seventy-five years ago.

Mr Canavan has always had a natural affinity for ponies and his first encounter with them is one that differs from many. Jimmy was transported by a Connemara pony and cart to his local church to be baptised, when he was just five-days-old.

Jimmy is a well-esteemed breeder of high-quality Connemara ponies, several of which carry Spanish blood. Many of the Connemara mares have been crossed with a Thoroughbred stallion.

“I believe today that it is possible to breed an even better pony using a Connemara mare and a Thoroughbred stallion of suitable size.” Jimmy explained.

The perfect breed

Jimmy speaks highly of working with the breed for several decades now and draws attention to the many favourable characteristics that the breed is renowned for.

“The Connemara has the best temperament of any pony in the world. They have always found that the Connemara pony was the best pony to use for a nervous child or for a beginner.” Jimmy explained.

“They are a brilliant pony to work with you. They seem to like to do what you want them to do and they enjoy it.” Jimmy said.

Jimmy believes that while in many cases the role of working horses has changed due to mechanisation on the farm, he believes that the Connemara has “taken on this new world and they have handled it just beautifully.”

Sheer Passion

Jimmy’s sheer passion for Connemara ponies is evident in the way that he has dedicated his life to working with the breed.

“A Connemara pony never let me down.” Jimmy said.

“I am delighted to have been associated with them and they are a rock solid pony. I have loved working with them and I have enjoyed working with them.” Jimmy added.

Thanks to Jimmy Canavan for sharing his story.

Camera and Editor- Caroline B Keane

Researchers: Catherina Cunnane and Kevin Forde.

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