Breed Description of the Kerry Bog Pony

The characteristics of the Kerry Bog Pony are as originally defined in 1994 and as re-affirmed unanimously as the Breed Standard at the First AGM of The Kerry Bog Pony Co-Operative Society held on 26th February 2005.

The breed standard is:

Size: A small pony evolved as such because of its use as a draught animal in the bogs of Kerry over the centuries. The height of the Kerry Bog Pony is 10hands to 11.2hands (102cms – 117cms) for stallions and geldings, with mares 10hands to 11hands (102cms – 112cms).

Colour: Any strong whole colour is to be found, but colour is generally brown or brownish black and bay. Some chestnut, grey and dun colours are also to be found.

Coat: The coat of the Kerry Bog Pony is long and dense and easily capable of withstanding harsh winter conditions without shelter.

Head: The head is pleasant plain and of average size and rather dish faced. Ears are small and pointed. Nostrils allow large air intake relative to body size. The jaw is strong and well formed with excellent dentition to facilitate grazing on heath, gorse and heather.

Body: Neck is strong and medium length. The shoulder is rounded and muscular. The body is strong and compact. The chest is deep with well-sprung ribs and good girth. Loins are powerful and the hindquarters are strong and well-formed. The tail is full, abundant and well set and well carried.

Legs: Forelegs are strong and muscular with a strong forearm. Hindlegs are muscular and powerful. The cannon bone is short with flat hard bone of good size. Pasterns are short and the hooves upright and wide open and well-formed of hard horn requiring very little trimming.

Action: The Kerry Bog Pony is a powerful pony with good bone and great weight and strength relative to its size. This together with its excellent conformation gives the pony a lovely straight and level action with good balance. This intelligent pony is sure footed and well capable of thinking for itself in the soft underfoot conditions of Kerry bogs.

Temperament and Character: This pony, while kind, sensible and confident and well-mannered also possesses great courage and endurance. Viciousness or nervousness have been bred out of the Kerry Bog Pony at a much earlier stage. Soundness is also a feature of the Kerry Bog Pony; hereditary unsoundness is extremely rare and because of the pony’s innate strength and toughness it scarcely ever develops any unsoundness. The pony’s constitution is also first class, being possessed of large heart and lung room which in turn enables it to thrive well despite harsh weather or other difficulties. The excellent temperament of the pony allows it to be easily trained to harness or saddle and it can be easily worked as a children’s riding pony.

[Original signed by Timothy G. Clifford, MVB, MRCVS]