An Analysis of the Sire Lines Represented in the 2013 CPBS Class 1 Stallion List

Ten years ago, in 2003 Deirdre Feely wrote in “Characterisation of the Connemara Pony Population in Ireland” that:

In future, it is vital that sire family sizes become more balanced, giving all stallions a better opportunity to breed their own replacements in the next generation. This would help to control the level of inbreeding and genetic diversity within the population… Adequate genetic diversity is vital for the long term health and viability of any population.”

Analysis of the 502 Class 1 stallions on the 2013 CPBS Stallion List into direct sire lines shows a very uneven distribution of stallion lines are available to mare owners in Ireland.  Direct sire line descendants of just four ancestors make up over half of the stallion list:

  • Abbeyleix Owen contributes 18.1% through 91 stallion descendants,
  • Hazy Dawn contributes 13.7% through 69 stallion descendants,
  • Mervyn Kingsmill contributes 13.3% through 67 stallion descendants, and
  • Ashfield Sparrow contributes 10.6% through 53 stallion descendants.

At the other end of representation there are Class 1 stallions who appear to be the last one or two of rare branches of stallion lines, listed below with their ancestor line in brackets:

  • Spinway Keepsake (Rebel Wind’s son Atlantic Rebel),
  • Templebready Bo’Sun (Moyglare Sampson),
  • Williams Boy (Macdara’s son Atlantic Hero),
  • Gevaudan (Clonjoy’s son Tulira Rambler)
  • Clonfert Boy (Carna Dun’s son Little Joe)
  • Knockadoe Dancer and Cong Admiral (Carna Bobby’s son Coosheen Finn)
  • Loughlum Sadat and Doorty’s Lady Killer (Dun Aengus’ son Maam Hill)
  • Tynagh Miller and Carraig Galen Miller (Macdara’s son Beal Tra)
  • Mulroy Bay (Dun Aengus’ son Calla Boy)
  • Cloudy Day (Killyreagh Kim’s son Windy Day)
  • Rebel Star (Bridge Boy’s son Ardnasillagh O’Flaherty)
  • Sweetwall Captain Courageous and Captain Miller (Bridge Boy’s son Marco Polo of Clonkeehan)
  • Ballymore Paprika (Marble’s son Oxenholm Matador)

Many of these rare line stallions are free of Abbeyleix Owen, Mervyn Kingsmill, Hazy Dawn and Ashfield Sparrow.  Consequently, they and some of their daughters are ideal for developing outcross stallions for breeding with the large numbers of mares from overused stallions.

Stallion list

Imported stallions are a feature of the CPBS Stallion List. Most add diversity to the stallion list, however Hazy Dawn sons and their offspring have become too numerous for the overall health of the population. Some other introductions are relatively closely related to other stallions on the CPBS list. Useful stallion introductions from a genetic diversity perspective include:

  • Gwennic de Goariva and his four sons (descendants of Clonkeehan Auratum)
  • Patty’s Sweet Dream (descendant of Heather Bell through Ben Lettery)
  • Patty’s Veuve Cosmic (descendant of Heather Bell through Murrisk)
  • Burning Daylight (descendant of Rebel through Sticky)

There is a phenomenon where an imported stallion is perceived as being better than those bred locally regardless of whether the pony is imported or exported from a country. Relying on imported stallions to provide genetic diversity while losing rare lines available at home results in a loss of genetic diversity for the global population of Connemara Ponies. This loss cannot be reversed where the stallion line only exists in one country.

ADDENDA: After posting the analysis of Stallions on the 2013 CPBS Stallions List, it has been discovered that the list is very much out of date. Spinway Keepsake remains on the CPBS Stallion List 14 years after he left Ireland for Austria. He passed away in 2001. Hopefully, this error is an exception. At worst it could mean the loss of stallion lines and the affect on the genepool is in a more parlous state than that portrayed in this Analysis. 


11 thoughts on “An Analysis of the Sire Lines Represented in the 2013 CPBS Class 1 Stallion List

  1. Some statistics from Sweden:
    Main page
    Page host Jenny Hagenblad is an associate professor in population genetics at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. She was invited by the CPBS to hold the 2011 Bartley O’Sullivan lecture in Clifden, about the Connemara Pony mare families. The printed lecture booklet is I think still available at the CPBS office 🙂

  2. I bought an elderly broodmare GARRYDUFF BLAITHIN ( 1984)whose sire was Sweetwall Pat a full brother to Sweetwall Captain Courageous..She was bay and had lovely conformation. We have two fillies from her,one, Kingswell Pebbles, by Ashfield Blue Rock and a half-bred by Catherston Dazzler.If it helps the breed, would be interested in suggestions which stallions to use..

  3. Hi Judith,
    I see on that wonderful BCPS website that Kingswell Pebbles is a young mare so quite possibly suitable for frozen semen use, if you want to go down that road. Her roan colouring appeals to a few people that I know too.
    Currently, I’m working on the British stallion list which has its own interesting and rare branches of stallion lines that are worth continuing on. Here are some thoughts…I’m assuming that you live in the UK and have drafted a list of stallions that need sons to keep their line going. I’ve arranged them in order of rarity.

    Aylesland Polis, is the only stallion line descendant of Snowball left in the world.
    Hearnesbrook New Moon is one of two direct stallion line descendants of Treeyews Lindisfarne in the world. Hearnesbrook Dunoon in the USA is the other.
    Ennerdale Steele Prince and Haughmond Midnite Sterling are the only stallions descending from Celtic Truska Prince in the world as far as I can tell. Both have good diversity value – partly as the Clonkeehan Auratum stallion line is the worldwide smallest stallion line, apart from Aylesland Polis (Snowball), and partly because some of their ancestors include stallion lines that did not survive through to today.
    Lanburn Lieutenant, is one of four Atlantic Rebel descendants remaining across the world. I’m delighted to see he is now listed as accepting visiting mares.
    Fenrose Bonny Blue and Oaklands Cloudbreaker are the only descendants of Tulira Boreen Sprat in the world.
    Dunlewey Go Charlie Go is one of two Tulira Kieran descendants remaining and has an interesting pedigree on his dam’s side.
    Hungry Hall Top Hat, Millfields Fanfare and Millfields Snow Falcon are the only Wisbridge Erinmore descendants left, apart from Achill Fiddler in Australia.
    Bardsey Zodiac has several descendants Lotmolu Countryman, Scottsway Stormy Sunset, Skellorn Harrison and Skellorn Prairie Dancer have useful pedigrees on their dam’s sides too.
    Crannard Special – has quite a lot of Carna Dun as does Pebbles. Perhaps too much?
    Artful Archer and Elmore James – continue the Arrow Chevalier line which only has two stallions at stud now but both carry quite a lot of Carna Dun. BTW, I understand that mating two roans is now considered safe whereas at one time there were concerns about this.
    Mahogany’s sons TImber in the Mist and Leys Conker are both getting older without sons. Both have quite a lot of Carna Dun.
    Rosenaharley Sir Laurence is the only son of Finchampstead Curtain Call. But there are a few other stallion descending from Macnamara in the UK and Europe.
    Oxenholm Matador is available by AI.
    Rosedale Hickory May is one of two stallions left descending from Coral Prince and has a useful mare side to his pedigree. However, he has Abbeyleix Owen once in the third generation back.


  4. Thank you Fiona, that’s interesting. Much appreciated that you even read it. I AM interested in bloodlines,but one must analyse “Why that line?” what unique asset does it have? I’m very new on Connemara breeding. Personally I feel that as a breed they must be able to do something physical and when I first came in it seemed to be the Hearnesbrook Connies. OH yes of course I know about the amazing Carna Bobby descendants too.Then I’m told it’s “Millfield” and I see that lovely Cocum Anna Donna mare line in several of “The best”–I’m a great supporter of Broodmare influence!

  5. As a reply to Fiona and her excellent listing above, I have a Coral Prince stallion son, but being double dilute as welll as being genetically grey, he was not considered ‘worthy’ of Class One status. He has bred consistently high quality stock. Midas Touch is his name.

  6. Fabulous , thanks so much, I was trying to look these fading lines up myself so saved me loads of work! Any recommendations for what to put my older mare by Island Lad for her last foal?

  7. I have just bought a connermara from a cheat. Sire is Banks Timber. I have a book. Can i trace it on web.? Thank you.

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