A documentary on the life cycle of the Connemara pony in its natural habitat in the West of Ireland.
Connemara is a wild and desolate area of granite mountains and widespread boglands whose people have been hardened and shaped by the climate that sweeps in from the Atlantic.
Indigenous to the region is the Connemara pony. David Shaw-Smith, writing in the RTÉ Guide ahead of the broadcast of his documentary 'Connemara And Its Ponies' said,
The Connemara pony shares the best blood of Kertag and Celt, Arab and English thoroughbred. Tempered by it natural environment, it has emerged as a beautiful and outstanding breed.
Shaw-Smith also describes some of the challenges they faced while trying to film the birth of a foal. Mares normally hide away while giving birth so capturing it on film with lights, camera and crew proved challenging. This was also something that many had never previously witnessed.
In 1923 the Connemara Pony Breeders Society was formed in order to improve and continue this hardy race of ponies.
The stallion 'Rebel Wind', owned by the Connemara Breeders Society, is considered the best of his type. The Society keeps fifteen stallions who serve the mares of the local farmers and breeders and ensure the continuity of the ponies. Most of the foals are born in May and early June following an eleven month gestation. At just two days old a foal can gallop after its mother.
Every year in May the inspection committee spends three days touring the area and farmers bring their two year old horses down from the hills to see if they come up to the strict standards set for the breed. A pony is only eligible for inspection at two years old.
The type of pony which is sought is compact, deep bodied, short back, well ribbed up, standing on short legs, and having good bone with sloping shoulders and a well-balanced head and neck.
Nearly 50 years after the society was formed 4,000 mayors have been registered and 350 stallions.
The pony is truly a little horse, the literal translation of the Irish 'capallín'.
The documentary 'Connemara And Its Ponies' was made by David Shaw-Smith and was broadcast on 30 November 1971.