THE ASHGAR STUD LEGACY
The Ashgar Connemara Pony Stud was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1979. At that time the Connemara Pony was almost unknown in Southern Africa. Patience Worthington had imported Kierin of Leam and was breeding Connemara Ponies in Zimbabwe and Sydney Press imported Clonkeehan Barna Boy (CPS 182) and Abbeyleix Tansey to the Coromandel Stud, near Pretoria in South Africa. Christine Walwyn with her husband Denis purchased a farm in Clarens, Eastern Free State, South Africa. It was there she decided that the hardy and versatile Connemara Pony was the ideal breed for this mountainous, harsh, cold and extreme environment.
Christine was fortunate to purchase Abbeyleix Tansey (CPS 3103) from Sydney Press (RSA) and Dundrum (800 Vol 18), the stallion from Mrs Patience (Patricia) Worthington from Zimbabwe. Patience then gifted Kierina and Coromandel Abbeyline (CPS 8118 Vol 18). At last, the Ashgar Stud was ready to start breeding Connemara Ponies in South Africa and in 1981 her family and the four foundation Connemara Ponies of Ashgar Stud moved to our farm known as “Schaarplats” in Clarens.
Pat Lyne’s story “Out of the Mist” describes the adventures of the first Connemara Ponies, their long trips to their final destinations in Southern Africa, often months at sea. For example, Kierin of Leam spent two and a half weeks at sea and then four days in the train to Zimbabwe and still sired a foal soon after he arrived! The Connemara Pony Society of Southern Africa was founded in 1985. The Society assisted with developing this wonderful breed in South Africa. Christine was President for many years and a committed Council member.
Her two stallions Dundrum (CPS 800) and Crockaun Connemara (CPS 674) also known as Croc an Oir “Croc” are no exceptions, Dundrum (CPS 800) spent four days travelling from Zimbabwe to Johannesburg. An hour after his arrival he jumped the fences, set off down the road in rush hour and after an agonising search was found in the neighbours garden demolishing her “Iceberg” roses!
Croc on Oir (CPS 674 Vol 16) was leased to Ashgar Stud by the Irish Aid sponsored Basotho Pony Stud each year after their breeding season. He was ridden for two days over the mountains in Lesotho to the Lesotho Trekking Centre at Modimo Nthuse in Lesotho. From there was another climb to our meeting place forty kilometres from Maseru. Croc on Oir sired the Stud’s next generation two stallions, Ashgar Doogary (SASB Vol 31 No.6), Ashgar Donegal (SASB Vol 31 No.3) and the mare Ashgar Karalee (SASB Vol 31 No. 5). He retired happily at the Stud where he died in 1999. The donated mares reflect their breeding today.
Once Christine became ill, she sadly gave up breeding. To ensure her legacy remained she ceded the prefix (recorded by SA Studbook) to the present owner and custodian of the Ashgar Stud, Zena Penfold of Millsleigh Irish Sport Horse and Pony Stud (also in the Eastern Free State) associate and friend, where the stud and pure-bred ponies remain today. To conserve the breed the SA Connemara Pony Breed Conservation Trust has been set up.
With SA bred Ashgar Cruising and imported Class 1 stallion Rhinestrom’s Mighty Man we look forward to continuing breeding with the legacy Ponies and their future dam progeny. We encourage existing owners and encourage new breeders to come on board and to stay in touch with the Stud so that the ponies are not “lost” to assist us to continue promotion and branding of the Stud and the breed that is the South African Connemara Pony.
Source: CHRISTINE WALWYN (FORMER OWNER AND FOUNDER (DECEASED 2017))