*Smaragaid Cliff's Famous Connemara Grandsire
Bridge Boy x Ardnasillagh Treasure
Danish Elite Stallion; Danish Dressage Champion
After I purchased the beautiful Connemara stallion *Smaragaid Cliff from Martina Ferfers in Germany, I wanted to know more about the famous Danish-bred Connemara ponies in Cliff's pedigree. I also wanted to understand the meaning behind these ponies' inspection rankings and
Many thanks to Helle Larson and Lene Nielsen in Denmark for their assistance in explaining the Danish system and translating the comments into English.
Lene Nielsen also led me to Tuula Pyoria, president of Finland's Connemara Pony Society, who in turn led me to Jaana Lallo, O'Flaherty's last owner and the author of this article.
Many thanks to Jaana for her photos and her story.
-- Karen Laden, Kingswell Connemaras, USA
Our Journey Together
by Jaana Lallo
The first time I met O´Flaherty was at the Finnish All Pony Breed Show in August 1988. He was imported to Finland earlier that spring by Ms. Outi Talvi from Aramara- Connemara Stud. I remember that the first impresson that I had from him was his sweet and mellow nature compared to tremedous presence and charisma and really good movements. I was there for the first time with my Connemara mare and her foal. I didn't have much time to look around at the other classes, but O´Flaherty got Ist prize and was named Champion Connemara Stallion.
After that O`Flaherty competed in Finland just locally in dressage and show jumping and got both championships at Central Finland Region Pony Championships. He also did his chore in Ms.Talvi´s riding school teaching young kids to ride and was really popular. He served 10-20 mares in the first 3 season that he stood at Aramara-Stud.
It took nearly 3 years till we really met again.
In March 1991, the Finnish Connemara Pony Association held a Show and Breed Demo at Aramara-Stud where I took one of my mares to be in the Broodmare Parade. She was also to be left there visiting O´Flaherty, who showed Dressage and was also shown in hand at the Stallion Parade. So I fell in love, just for the first sight when O´Flaherty came into the indoor arena and started his show. He flew through the arena when he trotted or did his flying lead changes etc. Boy, he had movements. For the in-hand show, well, he just came in, raised his head and looked like he was saying, "I'm good -- the best and the proudest stallion on earth," but all in his calm
gentleness. I can never forget that sight.
A few months after the show, just one ordinary spring morning, Ms.Talvi called. She asked if I would like to buy O´Flaherty for my small stud (Eiris-Stud) to retire and enjoy the peace and quietness where I lived at that time. She didn't have to ask twice. I felt like I had won the lottery. As to a "young" breeder, that was really it. So O´Flaherty stood at Aramara-stud till the end of that breeding season. I would bring him home after our Breed Show that was held there that year. And the judge was Mr. Connemara himself, Mr. Jimmy Jones from Ashfield-Stud Ireland.
I was supposed to go to the show (I lived a 5 hour drive from there) a day early to groom O'Flaherty for the show and get to know him better, cause I was going to show him by myself. Well, things never go like planned. After all the mishappenings, I got there a few hours before our class. After grooming, I had just half an hour time to get to know Flaherty from the ground…Boy I was nervous. My first time in a show with a stallion, really badly prepared and going in front of Mr. Jones. I was doomed and praying…
But a strange thing happened when I walked with O´Flaherty around a bit before entering the show ring. O´Flaherty just calmly walked like he was saying, "Hey, don´t worry, I know these things, just relax and let me do the job for us." And that he did. We entered the ring and I really don´t have much memory during the time there, but all the sudden we were in the B.I.S ring and lost only to a young mare that was imported from Denmark by Ms.Talvi. O´Flaherty was named Champion Stallion and Reserve Best in Show.
And the best memory ever in my pony breeding career was Mr.Jones´ warm
handshake and congratulations for excellent work showing a stallion. . . . If he only knew. . . There was just O´Flaherty to thank for all the glory that we got there.
At that moment I decided to retire O'Flaherty from the show ring. From all that he had won in his show career and all the compliments that Mr. Jones gave him was all that I needed or ever hoped to get again. But the best, for me, was still to come . . .
Cliff seems to have his father and grandfather's presence and charisma. The
stallions from this line are really sturdy and honest guys, with lots of movement and good bone to carry all that. But the most important thing that they seem to have is the heart, big big heart. They are willing to do the best for their owner and they never quit nor stop trying no matter what.
All the best
". . . Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners . . ." 1 Timothy 1:15