CPBS cancellation of the 97th Annual Connemara Pony Show 2020
Following recommendations from the Irish Shows’ Association and due to ongoing concerns regarding the continuing impact of the coronavirus, the Connemara Pony Breeders’ Society announced with great regret earlier in May the cancellation of the planned 97th Annual Connemara Pony Show due to have been held at the Showgrounds in Clifden from August 19th to 22nd.
This is the first time in the history of the Society that the Annual Show has been cancelled since the foundation of the Society in 1923, the first show being held at Roundstone in 1924. To quote author Pat Lyne, ‘….nothing has been allowed to interrupt its course. Through all the hard times and during the war years the Society valiantly continued to hold the show and it became an important focal point for breeders…. As time went by it became a ‘shop window’ and provided the best opportunity to realise a good price for your pony.’ The Show moved the following year to Recess, then Carna for the 3rd to 23rd shows and finally settled in Clifden in 1947 for the 24th Annual Pony Show. Such is the prestige and popularity of the Connemara pony that in 1951 the Royal Dublin Society arranged for classes for Connemara ponies to be included in their Spring Show and the pony has been represented at their show ever since. From the inaugural CPBS Show in 1924 with 150 entries the Clifden Show has grown to upwards of 700 entries annually and brings together the largest collection of Connemara ponies seen anywhere in the world and is used as a market window for breeders from both Ireland and overseas.
In tune with Irish Government guidelines since the coronavirus outbreak last January, the Society has continuously monitored the situation and taken guidance from the Health Service Executive. The health and safety of all those who gather in Clifden for the Pony Show have been the Society’s priority in reaching this decision. This includes all visitors from Ireland and overseas, competitors, sponsors, volunteers, staff, members and the community of Clifden. The CPBS has a responsibility to contribute to the national effort in controlling the virus in Ireland and it is in the best interests of public health and safety to provide certainty at this stage which would be beneficial to all, particularly our breeders and producers.
The Society trusts that everyone will understand and support this decision. In the meantime it is incumbent on all of us to support the measures in place and contribute to the national effort to control the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. We will look forward to welcoming everyone back in 2021.