Connemara Pony Festival
The annual Connemara Pony Festival will take place in Clifden, Co. Galway from Tuesday 16th to Sunday 21st August. Celebrating Ireland’s native pony the festival attracts visitors from all over the World to the capital of Connemara.
The festival opens on Tuesday when a bus tour will depart the Showgrounds, Clifden at 10am and head towards Bunowen, Ballyconneely to visit a number of Connemara pony studs and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. On Tuesday evening an International reception will be hosted in the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel at 8.30pm giving visitors an opportunity to meet with local breeders. Everyone is welcome to attend.
On Wednesday morning the International Committee of Connemara Pony Societies will hold their Annual General Meeting where all daughter societies will be represented. The Irish Connemara Green Hunter Final is the opening competition of the show and takes place at the Showgrounds on Wednesday at 10.30am. At 1.30pm local dressage rider Alanna Cazabon Sullivan will give a dressage demonstration. The three year old loose jumping final will commence at 2.30pm and this will be followed by the Performance Mare Final at 4pm.
Classes start on Thursday morning at 8.30am. The day will feature twenty three in-hand classes and nine ridden classes. Domestic There will be something for everyone with Domestic Arts, Irish Dancing, Dog Show and Face Painting. Judging of the best dressed lady competition will start at 1pm and the winner will be announced at 3pm. Judge on the day is Mandy Maher from Catwalk Modelling Agency. The winner will receive a €500 voucher to spend in Millars, Connemara. Runner up will receive a Newbridge Necklace and Bracelet from the Celtic Shop, Clifden. The most appropriately dressed lady will receive a pair of Dubarry Galway Boots. The most stylish gentleman on the day will win a Jack Murphy jacket from Hehirs of Clifden. At 9pm the Showdown will take place in the Station House Hotel with music with the Slyne Heads.
Gates open at 8.30am again on Friday morning when the working hunter competitions commence. The Clifden High Performance Final starts at 2pm and the Puissance competition is scheduled to start at 4pm. At 5pm the Parade of Champions will leave the Showgrounds and make its way around Clifden town finishing at the Station House Courtyard where there will be a BBQ and live DJ.
Saturday is Family Fun Day, a new feature for 2016, starting at 11am the day will feature a lead rein class, fancy dress, family working hunter, dog agility, waltzing and jiving competing and the highlight of the day the Inter Provincial Showjumping competition.
A sale of 500 Connemara ponies will take place at Clifden mart on Saturday and Sunday commencing at 10am each.
The main sponsors of the festival are Horse Sport Ireland, Galway Irish Crystal and the Station House Hotel.