Bethlehem, PA - President, Deb Norman, called the meeting of the ACPS Board of Governors to order at 9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Hilton Gardens Hotel, Bethlehem, PA. In attendance over the course of the Board and Annual general meeting were: Linda Trimper, Melanie Trimper, (both Reg. 3), Mike and Jennifer Keane (Reg. 4), Nancy Kilcrease (Reg. 4), Kate Denton (Reg. 4), Randy Rease (Reg. 4), Stepanie Fenton-Hickey (Reg. 4), Claire Robinson (Reg. 4), Lisa Rease (Reg. 4), Megan Harris (Reg. 4), Bonnie Reid (Reg. 5), Kay Clements (Reg. 6), JimClement (Reg. 6), Fiona Tracy Cheever (Reg. 4), Nodie Williams (Reg. 4), Sue Antilla (Reg. 1), Betsy Ervin (Reg. 2), Virginia Winkler (Reg. 2), Maris and Liz Platais (Reg. 1), Katie Donarumar (Reg. 2), Sally Oxnard (Reg. 1), Pat Shields (Reg. 1), Bette Fredrickson (Reg. 1), Kathy Lucas (Reg. 10), Gloria LaCroix (Reg. 7), Maureen Loughman-Abel (Reg. 4), Joanie Webster (Reg. 10) , Donna Duckworth (Reg. 3), Annie Balotti-Paleen (Reg. 7), Sarah McRae Thrasher (Reg. 1), Susan McConnell (Reg. 3), Scott McGuffin (Reg. 1), Linda Haines (Reg. 1), Kim Walnes (Reg. 2), Cathy Blackmon (Reg. 3), Amy Plavin (Reg. 1), Deb Norman (Reg. 3), Julie Keahey (Reg. 8), Heather Magnan (Reg. 2),  and Marynell Eyles (Reg. 3).

The minutes of the January 2015 Board of Governors meeting in KY were approved.

Anne Moe, Membership Chair – REPORT OF THE MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY As of September 1, 2015

2014 members: 589

2015 members: 588

Plus 7 subscription only

  Associate Family Junior Life Senior
2014 164 41 59 115 210
2015 169 27 64 116 212


2014 118 60 122 69 54 15 35 27 31 56 2 (Life)
2015 104 57 135 71 62 13 35 20 29 57 2 (Life)

Plus 2 Associate

Gifts to ACPS Foundation:

2014:       $820

2015:       $1,045

2014        152 members returned their renewals in the enclosed self-addressed envelope.

2015        88 "

2014        171 people joined or renewed through USEF.

2015        198 "

A big thanks to the membership for choosing e-ballots and the e-directory!

2014       259 voting members chose an e-ballot, 104 a written ballot (45 of those are life members)

2015       273 "                                                  88 "

2013 ballot cost: approx. $400

2014 ballot cost: 104 x $.49 = $50.96 postage, plus printing and envelopes

2015 ballot cost: 88 x $.49 = $43.12 postage, plus $24 printing, plus cost of envelopes

2014        479 chose the e-directory, 112 a printed directory

2015        500 "                                           88 "

2013 directory cost:  $2,791.68            (printing and mailing)

2014 directory cost:  $302.76               (printing and mailing)

2014 cost is offset by $440 received from people who wanted printed directories. Life members were not charged for printed directories.

2015 directory cost:  $209.96               (printing and mailing)

2015 cost is offset by $300 received from people who wanted printed directories. Life members were not charged for printed directories.

2013 Membership Secretary stipend: $3,460 (12 months)

2014 Membership Secretary stipend:  $678.56 (Annual meeting expenses)

2015 Membership Secretary stipend:  Annual meeting expenses

All renewals and new applications are acknowledged by e-mail if they have an e-mail address, and a note via USPS if they do not. At the 2014 AGM I proposed eliminating the membership card; Cathy Blackmon suggested that the membership card be sent as an attachment to the acknowledgment e-mail, and that suggestion was adopted. This saved the cost of an entire mailing to the membership, approximately $270 plus the cost of cards and envelopes.

Gift memberships are acknowledged by e-mail to the giver and the recipient, plus the Regional Governor and Region Chair, with the membership card included as an e-mail attachment. Contact information for new members and gift memberships are sent to the Regional Governor and Region Chair, and if a junior member, to the Youth Program chairman and the Youth Scholarship chairman.  Every effort is made to make the messages friendly and welcoming. Donations to the ACPS Foundation are acknowledged with a thank you card included with the e-mail.

Excel files listing regional members are automatically sent to the Regional Governor and Region Chair periodically, and also upon request.

Anne Moe, Membership Secretary

Treasurer - Stephanie Fenton-Hickey said she had paid all the bills, and the Society was in good shape. Financial advisor, Cathy Blackmon, noted the Society is a very good steward of their finances. Cathy has served nine years as Treasurer, and has asked Stephanie Fenton-Hickey to take over the day-to-day bill paying. Cathy will continue to manage the taxes and insurance payments.

Noted the passing of long time member and breeder, Helen King.  Mel King posted on Facebook that Helen did not want a funeral service. As an homage to Helen, Sue Antilla put together a poster of the history of the 20 years of the ACPS Inspection Program with which Helen was very instrumental. The poster was displayed and many of Helen King’s achievements were shared.

Report of the President – Deb Norman – who noted the year had been a busy one, but for her a very sad one as she has lost both of her parents. She thanked the Board and her vice president, Amy Plavin, for “stepping up”. She noted she couldn’t be part of a better group. In that vein, she noted that the floor would be turned over to Maureen Loughman-Abel, who wanted to address the Board for 10 minutes later in the program, to discuss the Connemara Sport Horse Registry.

Report of the Registrar - Purebred and Halfbred  Stud Book - Registrar’s report – 2015 – as of 9/8/2015

The overriding problems in 2015 are the results of two computer crashes – resulting in a hard drive replacement, resulting in loss of some data, and having to re-key/re-enter several stud books’ worth of information. That said – other parts of the process were also somewhat experimental with the addition of micro-chipping, HWSD testing, the Registrar no longer being part of the Inspection process, and trying to produce a full set of stud books for a breeder (while attempting to keep up with the work on the desk!).

I was thrilled there WAS an order for the Stud Books, and it also helped spur me to do a lot of proofing and going back and looking up information that didn’t transfer from the old DOS system to the Access system.  But – here follows a bulleted list of report items:

  • Hard Drive – the hard drive replacement has, for some reason our Microsoft designer, Kim Martin, cannot figure out, resulted in the registration system not working on the desk top – it is running Windows 7, and the system was working fine, but now is non-functional. I am running the system on a very old, but still operating, Dell laptop --- that I used as a back up for the information through the years. Now, it is the mainstay. 
    I propose to find a local IT person --- and get the system running on the desktop, but it may be necessary to replace the computer entirely. It became unstable exactly one week after its warranty expired, and had not been totally reliable  - it has good days and bad ones. It is also the computer on which the magazine is done – so it is an important item for the Society.
  • Process of Registration – changes – Since January 2015, the registration of a purebred Connemara has included a micro-chip, and if the foal is by a stallion that has not be HWSD tested, a test of that disease is added to the DNA sample report. I had to come up with a system to keep track of the chip numbers, and to try to ensure that the chips got put into the pony with the registration number/record completed in our stud book.
    That system is:
    • Receive the registration application
    • Check $ paid and signatures
    • Go to Cal Davis web site – download DNA sample “kit”
    • Put data in pony file, including micro-chip number on form
    • Print and send kit along with any requests for missing info
    • File application and wait for DNA sample report via email from Cal Davis lab
    • Complete TFC  or Permanent certificate – in computer/print/affix micro chip sticker to TFC/print DNA results and include a form for vet to complete w/the microchip in mailing.
    • Take packet to post office – now costs $1.29 for each envelope (plus cost of manilla envelope which I haven’t included). TFC/DNA/form for chip/chip
    • Hope the pony owner has the micro chip implanted in the correct pony!
  • Registration numbers – Purebred foals – 30 registrations applied for by September 8, 2015. I am sure there will be more.
  • Purebred Stallions registered:
    • New registrations  1. Oakfields Red Finch HWSD/N/N (*Grange Finch x *Corha’s Dream by Castleside Carrig) owned by Annie Balotti-Paleen
    • And – from 2014 New Heart’s Patriot (Cornerstone’s Indelible x New Heart’s Morning Glory by Ballywhin An Luan) owned by Orianna Brown
    • Waterfield Owen (*Coral Bobby x *Owen’s Colleen by Champion Bob S) Robert Bolger
    • *Ruby King Sparrow  HWSD/N/N (Glencarrig Knight x Sienna Dusky Sparrow by Callowfeenish Mairtin) Nancy Buchanan
    • *TBS Declan Pondi HWSD/N/N (Dexter Leam Pondi x Dandy Sparrow by Ashfield Bobby Sparrow) Nancy Buchanan
    • Big Bear’s Omega (Fergus x Big Bear’s Aurora by Rockhaven MacBrigh) Kim Abernathy
    • Willow’s Art of Kells HWSD/N/HWSD (*ArdCeltic Art x Shammer Gypsy Queen by *Ballinaboy Eamonn) Katie Pinner
  • Halfbred Stallions registered
    • Fox Creek’s Jack Sparrow (*Grange Finn Sparrow x Mollie (unknown) owned by Dianna Orona
    • Gideon Goodheart  (*Grange Finn  Sparrow x The Lady Destiny by Celtic Saga x Kilfinora)
      Owned by Kim Walnes

NEW FARMS – Three new farms registered in 2015 so far. But – Bantry Bay/Candy Verhulst reported she is not breeding anymore. Many of the breeders we have depended on for years to produce quality stock have cut back, have retired, or have been wary of the economics of producing more equines, so the numbers reflect that even as the economy for selling ponies has seemed to improve. More Transfers were recorded in 2015.
Marynell Eyles

Addendum –

September 29, 2015

  • Foal registration --- 10 added after Sept. 8 report – total of 40
  • Registered without TFC – 12 mares, 7 geldings –
  • Total new additions to Studbook – 59
  • Farms registered – increased to 5
    • River Wynd Farm – Cynthia Copolo, Bahama, NC
    • River Front Farm – Thomas and Fonda Eigel, Cynthiana, KY
    • Clover Hill Farm – Kim Harrison, Mosely, VA
    • Hidden Creek Horses – Donna Miller and Roger Brown, Alpharetta, GA
    • Thoroughly Bred Farm – Jenny Youngblood, Deer Park, WA

                  Transfers - 85

Report of the Registrar of the Connemara Sport Horse Registry   - Megan Harris - Connemara Sport Horse Registry – AGM Report – Oct 2015

Since the inception of the Connemara Sport Horse Registry early this year, I have been working closely with the developer of our record keeping software, and a committee of board members, to get it up and running, and open for business.  By the time I was ready to print the first certificates in March, I had a number of applications in hand, and quite a few on the way.

I have been delighted with the positive response that I’ve heard from fellow Connemara enthusiasts, breeders, and even sport horse enthusiasts with no close ties to the Connemara, all hoping the registry would bring our beloved ponies more recognition and invite new supporters to join the ACPS. Even more exciting was talking to people I’d never met, and coming home to emails from long lost ACPS members asking, ‘do you think my Connemara partbred would be eligible for registration?’

We were fortunate to receive affirmation from none other than William Micklem in his timely write-up published by the ever popular blog, Eventing Nation, and also received enthusiastic support from Carol Kozlowski, amongst a number of other high profile sport horse affiliates. We received additional press on Eventing Nation when ACPS member, and Connemara breeder, Beth Davidson posted her blog about the new registry, highlighting the Connemara’s many talents and what they could bring to the table when used in a performance based sport horse program.

These ponies are no joke. We know that. In the wise words, of the young  4* event rider, Allie Sacksen, ‘Just as the Germans have figured out how to breed a light style sport horse to dominate the world of eventing and show jumping, I believe the Connemara can contribute to the development of an American style sport horse that is just as competitive. The Connemara Sport Horses allow breeders to take the characteristics that we love in the Connemara ponies (athleticism, durability, heart and instinct) and mold them into horse sized athletes that will excel in any discipline.’

To date we have registered 14 Connemara Sport Horses ranging in age from this year’s foal crop, to 11 years old. The most popular crosses being with the Thoroughbred, or a combination of Thoroughbred and Irish Sport Horse; the most unique being a ¼ Connemara, ¼ Arabian, and ½ Andalusion – he is stunning – I was lucky enough to see him in person at the Region III Show! Most of the current registrants are under the age of four, but of those old enough to be under tack, they are competing in a variety of disciplines, and are most expectedly excelling in jumpers, dressage and eventing. 

We have registered two Halfbred Connemara stallions thus far, one of whom already has registered offspring.

Since these partbreds are purpose bred for sport, they are primarily owned by, or are being marketed towards, competitors. They are not sitting idle in the fields of their breeders, these individuals are out competing, and promoting our breed, with their owners and trainers. We have welcomed five brand new members to the ACPS, and we have revived three previous memberships. With promising youngsters coming available, I suspect there will be more new members in the very near future.

I hope you will join me in welcoming these new patrons of the ACPS, and in looking forward to the successes and enjoyment the Connemara will continue to bring.


Megan Buchanan Harris

ICCPS  - Susan McConnell – explained the ICCPS origin and purpose. Through its history, the organization has changed its rules and registration policies many times, and has included many changes to the CPBS Inspection process and requirements as well. The ACPS has been an Affiliated Member, and has noted and followed, as closely as able, the will of the group. As a Non-European Union member, the US does not have to follow many of the directives from Brussels, and the Agricultural Departments of the EU there. For the last several  years, Scott McGuffin has ably served as the ACPS Delegate to the ICCPS, while Susan McConnell has served as the group’s Secretariat. In the reports this year, it was noted that Ireland is now giving each Connemara foal a lifetime registration (in the past, the pony only got permanent registration if it passed Inspection).

ACPS-Foundation – Susan McConnell – manages the Foundation for the ACPS, and she has funded the creation of scarves and ties, sold on behalf of the Foundation. The balance is now $35,000 plus, and pays for ACPS Scholarships and Educational Seminars as requested and approved.

Maureen Loughman-Abel was invited to voice her views on the new Connemara Sport Horse Registry. Pat Shields also spoke against the Registry, and wanted it renamed to the Partbred Registry. Scott McGuffin answered for the Board that much thought and time went into the name, and much discussion and thought was given to the implementation of the Registry. He noted that nothing in the By-Laws ruled against policy changes and registration procedures. The final decision to “agree to disagree” was amiably reached.

Standing Committees Reports

Arbitration - Fonda Eigel - no report

Awards - Marilyn Cheek - explained the process and encouraged members to nominate their ponies, or help others do so.

By-Laws - Scott McGuffin - recommended the By-Law corrections/omission he suggested at the last meeting be put on the 2016 proxy. A Code of Ethics that codifies what is expected of BOG members, including use of social media, was signed by all in attendance. The same document will be sent to all members.

Inspections - Gloria LaCroix - reported that two sites were offered in 2015 and 28 ponies were inspected. The Committee is looking for Inspector Candidates.

Awards - Marilyn Cheek - it was noted that both Katherine Short, who manages the High Point Connemara ribbon program, and Deb Clinch, who manages the Achievement Awards Record keeping, would like to be replaced.

Internet - Amy Plavin - Asked that every committee go through their pages to make corrections and additions. Donna Duckworth noted that she would not mind being relieved of the Pony of the Week news gathering job.

Magazine - A new printer will publish the magazine in 4 color. A heartfelt thank you was expressed to Joan Webster of Stonybrook Farm for supporting the magazine with her page 3 color ad for many long years.

Nominating - Anne Moe - The Committee tries very diligently to fill spots with people whose talents are needed. They feel delighted they have been awarded with good nominees. Sally Eyles-Goldfarb will be the new Chair for 2016 and Chris Knox is the new committee member. This committee works on a revolving basis.

Promotions - Melanie Trimper and Heather Magnan reported on their ad placements for the year. (The duo also conducted an entire moring of promotional information/Facebook use, on Friday morning.) Ads were run in Pony Quarterly, Horse Illustrated, Virginia Horse, The Equiry, Iowa Horse Fair (sent brochures and flyers), Susan Horse Show, and largely, Facebook. Discussion on needing help keeping up with the Connemara happenings to share on the ACPS Connemara Facebook page, resulted in Randy and Lisa Rease agreeing to help monitor and post good news. Melanie and Heather look at stats frequently to see which posts get the most views and likes….and they will continue to do that.

Region Chair Liaison – Gloria LaCroix is helping Joan Ervin, whose health has not been good lately. Gloria attended the Reg. Gov’s meeting, and she said people were needed in each state to help communicate with the Regional chairs and Gov’s. She said each region should be sure that the people in responsible positions really want to be there. The Liaison person is there to help people with their regional problems or logistics.

Youth Committee – Sally Eyles-Goldfarb and daughters – Cathy Blackmon noted that Margo Goldfarb had completed the application for the USEF Youth Scholarship, which is a very time consuming and tedious job, and that thanks to the efforts last year, the ACPS was granted $1500 for the youth program. She also noted that when ACPS members are completing their USEF membership forms, that the first box to check when noting Breed or Discipline, is Breed – Connemara. The ACPS gets credit for those numbers. Choose your discipline second.

Youth Scholarships – Linda Haines - Thanks to the USEF and a junior member who worked to apply for the special award from USEF, the Junior Scholarship program gained $1500.

Old Business - Linda Haines and Sally Oxnard noted that the ACPS Region I Show will celebrate 50 years in 2016.

Melanoma Research - Maureen Loughman-Abel, Chair, gave an update on the progress of the research, with the discovery that 360+ genes have been discovered to be involved in the Melanoma existence. She thanked Sally Oxnard and Joanie Webster especially for helping find candidates for the study. The progress is now being delayed due to lack of funding, and a request to the ACPS-Foundation for $5,000 additional dollars has been submitted. Also needed are four more ponies with melanoma that occurred before the age of 6.

There being no further business except the Regional Reports, to be given at the AGM section of the meeting, the Board Meeting was adjourned at 2:40 p.m.

The Annual Meeting of the American Connemara Pony Society was called to order by President, Deb Norman, at 2:43 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn Meeting Room. There being no motions to report, Susan McConnell moved to approved the minutes of the 2014 ACPS Annual Meeting, Greenville, VA, as emailed. The motion was approved.

Regional Reports were given.

All the regions would like to host shows that do not conflict with one-another. A tentative calendar was begun. Mike Keane asked if the shows could run sequentially so those who can, might be able to attend many of them. The show managers in attendance agreed to try. At meeting time, the Region show dates were: Region 4 – June 24-25, Chatts Hills, GA: Region 1 – July 23-24, GMHA, their 50th anniversary show: RDS – Dublin – July 20-24: Clifden – Aug. 18: and Region III – Aug. 17-18, Virginia Horse Center, Lexington, VA, their 30th anniversary show.

Cathy Blackmon noted that for Regional Shows- the shows are typically covered by the ACPS/USEF insurance, under “Additionally insured”. If the show is recognized by USEF, there may be other requirements, or it may depend on each facility’s requirements.

The 2016 meeting - a suggestion was made by Deb Norman to try to host a meeting in the Northwest, perhaps somewhere south of Portland, OR, and include a trail ride/pony trek with a son of the famous Connemara Trail leader, Willy Leahy. The tentative date is Mid-September.

The January BOG meeting will be held in conjunction with the USEF Annual Meeting at the Lexington, KY, Hyatt Regency from January 13 to 16, 2016.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned, followed by the

Election of the new Board of Governors members: The nominees elected for a term from 2015 - 2018 are Kate Denton, Fonda Eigel, Susan McConnell, Scott McGuffin, Wayne Quarles, Joan Webster (replacing Darian Hall).

Officers for 2016 - Deb Norman, President; Kate Denton, Vice President; Amy Plavin, Vice President; Cathy Blackmon/Stephanie Fenton-Hickey, Treasurer. Marynell Eyles, Secretary (not a member of the Board).

Susan McConnell moved the adjourn the meeting, Annie Balotti-Paleen seconded the motion and it was unanimously approved.

Respectfully submitted, Marynell Eyles, ACPS Secretary


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