I began my love affair with Connemaras at the age of nine, from photos in English pony books whose breed descriptions routinely featured Terese of Leam and Silver Lining. Photos of *Tooreen Laddie and his daughter Erin Heaven in The Chronicle of the Horse in the early 60’s pretty much sealed the deal.
Post-Pony Club, post-College, post-Potomac Horse Center Horsemaster, I worked at Annandale Farm & at Tower Hill Farm & taught, trained, & judged all over NH.
My first Connemara, bought from Sue Smith at Gilnocky Farm in 1976, was Gilnocky Chantilly Lace (aka Mattie; Gilnocky Mullingar x Gay Corrib, by Texas Hope). She was exactly what a Connemara is not supposed to be: hot, sensitive, opinionated, & just like a beautiful small Thoroughbred. We were perfect for each other. I thought she would be my competition pony & Greenway Pollyanna (Far Above’s Shannon x Gaelin’s Bit of Heaven, by *Gael Linn), who did look like a Connemara, would be my broodmare. Wrong.
Mattie loved making babies (she had nine), & Polly loved running & jumping at horse shows.
Pat Lyne, friend & mentor, had sold the wonderful young buckskin *Chiltern Colm (Corrib x Chiltern Gazelle, by Island Duke) to Sally Green, meanwhile. I thought him perfect for Mattie, & Bob Butcher & I were able to lease & then buy him. So began Wintervale Farm.
Although no longer actively breeding, we still have five Connemaras: a daughter, two granddaughters, & a great-granddaughter of Mattie & Colm, plus Morning Glory’s Illyushin (Fiddlers Glory Boy x Tullymors Lizzie MacLynch, by Montully’s Son), the sire of the younger generation, which, by the way, are descendants of *Tooreen Laddie, Silver Lining’s full sister Canrower Lass, & Terese of Leam. Full circle.
Somewhere in there I created & edited Connemara Country (the first-ever national Connemara magazine), have served as a Regional Chair & on the ACPS Board of Governors, was an early inspector, have judged in the U.S., inspected in Canada, am still a writer and theatre professional by trade, & live in NH with Bob.