Successful Seminar held in Thurles
Following the AGM held in the Anner Hotel Thurles, an extremely interesting Seminar took place.
Paul Flynn, of Weatherbys Scientific, gave a riviting breakdown of some aspects of the indepth geneomic study he is carrying out on the Kerry Bog Pony. A daunting subject for the layman, Paul took us clearly through his work, explaining the current dna parentage test that we are all familiar with and then comparing it to the vast amount of information now made available as a result of the SNP testing carried out. He looked at genetic diversity, breed purity and how best this knowledge could be utilised to benefit the breed. (This presentation was part of a much larger project Paul is working on for a PhD. The information is not yet publically available).
Jane Darragh, renowned pony judge, spoke on preparing and producing ponies. Having judged Kerry Bog Ponies first at the National Show in 2007 and again in 2017 she was able to see how things had improved over the years and what people still need to improve on. She spoke on the subtleties of the differences, for instance between the different working hunter classes and where the KBP would fit in. She suggested competing in other classes not just those for Kerry Bog Ponies.
Folke Rohrssen, International Carriage Driver and Coach, who has broken a number of Kerry Bog Ponies to harness, outlined his methods and how he progresses an animal through the process. He emphasised the need for constant repetition to enstill the knowledge in to the pony to make it safe. It takes a lot of conditioning to overcome the natural instinctive reaction to an unexpected fright! All horses and ponies are different, there is no set formula or length of time taken in the process, each animal dictates the pace and areas that need more work.
Judy cazabon, who was to have been the third speaker, was unavoidably delayed in Europe and was not present. She was to have spoken about her experience of utilising a Native breed, the Connemara, in developing her tourism business in Galway. The potential of this untapped sector for the Kerry Bog Pony, and its potential as another market for well produced ponies was discussed. A recent event where foreign students went walking with Kerry Bog Ponies at Lullymore Heritage Park was a great promotional event as it generated good coverage of the breed here in Ireland and highlighted its potential for use in the Tourism sector.
All of the speakers were willing to take questions and the audience took the opportunity to interact with them and avail of the knowledge on offer. It was a very informative event and was very well received.