We held a very successful first AGM and inspections this weekend at Jocelyn Davies' farm in Edmonton, Alberta.
We had a good attendance of about 18 members from Ontario, Quebec, BC, Saskatchewan and of course Alberta. We passed our bylaws, elected our Board of Governors and our executive. We also held our first inspections on Sunday with Chris Knox, now president of the ACPS as our senior inspector. We passed one new stallion and one premium mare along with 7 other mares. Margot Watson and Heather Sherratt were the other two inspectors with Susan MacDougall, Tracy Dopko (our webmaster) and Penny Huggons as ICs.
Our new Board is Margot Watson and Cathy Whittal from BC, with their Regional Chair, Susan MacDougall, Bridget Wingate and Jocelyn Davies from Prairies with their chair, Terry Francis, Chris Carey and Heather Sherratt from Central with Rick Doner our regional chair.
The executive is Heather Sherratt as President, Bridget Wingate as Vice President, Margot Watson as Treasurer and Jocelyn Davies as Secretary.
We spent the afternoon discussing issues and setting up working committees to organize such areas as awards, inpsections, promotion and so on. If anyone would like to help and join any committee, please let Heather Sheratt know and she will connect you with the committee chair.
It was a very productive meeting and I think we all had a very enjoyable time too. I would like to thank the Alberta people who organized it all, put us up and ferried us around. Now we have to get down to the work of running the society.
The Battle of the Breeds is a unique competition which has been held every year at the Masters Tournament since 1990.
Any recognized breed of horse/pony/mule can enter a 4-horse team. In each of the 5 classes two of the team have to compete. These are: Compulsory Skills (dressage ridden or driven), Jeopardy Jumping, Obstacle Driving, Barrel Racing and Jeopardy Trail. The two Jeopardy classes have a final obstacle with 100 points which can be gained or lost and are optional.
Connemaras have entered a team most of the last 10 years. In the early years, they normally ended up about half way down the 11 or 12 teams. Breeds such as Quarter Horses and Arabians had thousands of animals from which to choose a team, compared with our small numbers. In both 2003 and 2004 we made 2nd place, having won some of the individual classes.
This year, we had a strong team including two veteran pony/riders as anchors. The first day was a little disappointing with Chelsea McNeil on the 13.2 hh stallion Bein Mallin Rory O’Sullivan, and Brian Morton on the 15 hh mare Hillside Sassafras placing only 5th in Compulsory Skills. In the afternoon they ended up 2nd in the jumping behind only the TB’s. Both took and were successful at the 3’6” vertical jeopardy jump.
The next day saw the obstacle driving class. We were fortunate enough to have the very experienced Marsoe Larose to drive both ponies (this is allowed in one class only). The course was very tricky and included a painted circle to be straddled without a wheel touching, plus the normal water and wood bridge obstacles. He had a beautiful and fast round with the very experienced mare Avenns Arrin Terra. His second drive was with “Rory” who has only been driven for 3 months. They were also fast and knocked only one obstacle, which placed them first.
We started Saturday in the lead facing a most difficult trail class. Obstacles included riding through strips of hanging plastic, carrying flags, crossing wood bridges and pushing an enormous ball between poles. Elsie and “Fergus” had an excellent round and were successful in the final jeopardy test of hitting a ball through a gate with a polo mallet. “Rory” and Chelsea had an exceptionally good round, but we did not let them try the jeopardy, as we had sufficient points to win the whole Battle without risking the 100 points.
Winners of the Battle go on to the International Ring in a parade, and to receive their trophy. We lined up in the collecting ring with all the “greats” of the show jumping world before treading the hallowed ground in front of an enormous audience.
We could not have paid for the exposure of all those people seeing 4 beautifully turned out and perfectly behaved purebred ponies, with the name “Connemara” mentioned over the loud speaker at least a dozen times.
The society is progressing very well. We met with Ron Black of CLRC early in May and had a very pleasant and informative meeting. I have revised the bylaws in accordance with what we agreed at that meeting and have sent them to Ag Canada, and to the ICCPS and CPBS along with a letter asking for recognized status for the society. Rick and Dale Doner will be going to Clifden in august and will represent the society at the meetings there.
I have also asked Tracy to put the bylaws on our web page so anyone can go and have a look. Also, I got information about a show holding Connemara classes and Tracy is putting that information on the web page too - so keep checking it.
We are planning our AGM for the weekend of September 30th to October 1st in Alberta and also planning to hold our first inspections after the meeting. I hope as many of you as possible will be able to attend and if not, you will receive information on how you can take part in our first elections.
So you can see, we are making progress. Please get as involved as possible - we need all the people and help we can get.
Purebred Connemara Performance (Trophy from Jocelyn Davies, Devon Ridge Farms) - Bein Mallins Rory O’Sullivan.
Lynfield Cormac MacCarthy Western Performance (Trophy from Doris Jacobi, Avillion Gleann) - Bien Mallins Caitlin.
Half Bred Connemara Performance (Trophy by WCCA) - Eden’s Winston