Meet the Inspectors

Laura Balding

In the late 50’s our Mother discovered Connemara Ponies. My best mount at the time was a 17.3hh Thoroughbred, called Happy Landing. I took him to be part of a Pony Club Team at the National Rally in Long Island, 1960. That previous year we had gotten our first Connemara Ponies. My big horse was accidentally kicked by his pasture buddy romping in the field. He never recovered.

I started to ride our new stallion, Tourbillon. His main job was as herd sire for our then about eight mares. I rode him everywhere and at every opportunity. We rode the trails and I used him for lessons and showing. Got permission to take him foxhunting and to use him in Pony Club events. Our mares and this stallion were the only Connemara Ponies I saw for several years… not counting the ponies we encountered in Ireland in 1959… some of which we shipped home to Missouri. Our eyes were gradually imprinted…

Time went on and there was a slowly growing population of Connemaras in this country and in our own part of the world. We readily and joyfully recognized them anywhere we traveled.

The identifying “look” or “Type” was not the only identifying characteristic. We noticed the performances and attitude of these ponies were remarkably

consistent. They were versatile and so persistently good natured, temperament you could count on.

After several years as a school teacher, I joined my mother supervising the Connemara Pony breeding and horse population at Three Creek Farm. I was 25 years old. I became the “hands on” person at the farm. Over the years (nearly 50) I have served as a teacher, event organizer, and coach and sometimes judge for performance competition as well as in hand and breed shows. I have served on the Board of Governors and as President of the ACPS, as did my Mother before me.

During my term as President, we reignited and revamped the Inspection Program. Originally there had been an Inspection Protocol, imported from Ireland along with the ponies. This became too unwieldy to keep going in the early days of Connemara Ponies this side of the Atlantic, distances as great as they are. Today the ACPS has an active and effective Inspection Program. There are still challenges of geographical distance and prioritizing the details of Type and Conformation.  I believe participation in the Inspection Program is important and will be what preserves our Connemaras for the future, in spite of the inevitable changes in show ring fashion.

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