The British Connemara Pony Society (BCPS) aims to promote and protect the Connemara Pony breed in Great Britain. The Connemara Pony continues to prove extremely popular for owners and riders of all ages due to the breed’s ability to excel in so many fields. Today, the BCPS is a registered charity with over 700 members and is run by a Council of twelve elected members.
The main functions of the BCPS are to maintain the BCPS Stud Book, organise events and support owners and carers of Connemara Ponies. The BCPS offers:
- A dedicated Office available for advice and services
- Inspections for grading breeding stock
- Three shows a year – Breed Show, Northern Show and Performance Day
- Prestigious Eventing Championship and Dressage Championship
- Performance Award Scheme
- Affiliated classes for Mountain & Moorland and Working Hunter at large Equestrian and County shows all over the country
- Regional societies affiliated to the BCPS which run their own shows and organise social activities – and can also offer help and advice when needed
- The annual Connemara Chronicle, a hugely valuable and popular publication which covers local, national and international Connemara Pony news for the past year, as well as information on studs, stallions and much more!
To see what you could gain by becoming a member of the BCPS, please see our Memberships and Fees page.
You can also download our Society Memorandum and Articles and Rules from this page.
History of the BCPS
Following the foundation of the Irish Connemara Pony Breeders Society (CPBS) in 1923, word soon reached pony breeders in Britain of an excellent riding pony breed from the West of Ireland. One such breeder was the indomitable Cynthia Spottiswoode, who brought the first Connemara ponies over and did much to bring them to the attention of the wider public with the help of Sir James Pitman and John Meade. Together they formed the English Connemara Pony Society in 1947, which had a committee of six members headed by Cynthia.
After her death in 1953, the Society was reconstituted with John Meade as Chairman and Louise Barthorp as Secretary. They held these positions for many years, ensuring stability and continuity during those important early days. In 2004, the name was changed to the British Connemara Pony Society in order to reflect its status as an Affiliated Society of the CPBS, which covers the whole of Great Britain.
Many of the key services offered by the BCPS have a long history. In the early days of the Society, the National Pony Society (NPS) maintained a Connemara section for registered ponies, but in 1979 the Society established its own stud book both for UK-bred ponies and those bred abroad. The BCPS Stud Book continues to be produced annually. 2010 saw the introduction of Grassroots, a breeding database which enables pedigree and progeny data to be accessed easily, and which has proved an invaluable tool for serious breeders.
The first show held by the Society took place at King’s Ride, Ascot in 1948, and ever since then the BCPS Breed Show has been held annually. The Breed Show now takes place over two days with both in-hand and ridden sections. In recent years in particular, the performance aspects of the Connemara have been brought to the fore, with dressage, eventing, show-jumping, Trec and endurance becoming regular features in the Connemara’s ‘tool box’. These attributes are today highlighted at the Society’s annual Performance Day, as well as the prestigious Dressage and Eventing Championships.
Members are kept up to date with Connemara news through the Society’s publications. The first was the Quarterly Circular produced by Elizabeth Beckett, a breeder who did much to consolidate the information about the breed. A Society Yearbook was later proposed by the inimitable Pat Lyne, and in 1974 the first edition of the Connemara Chronicle appeared. From relatively humble beginnings, the publication has now grown to an impressive 250 pages of articles, show results and advertisements, and is an invaluable reference book for all Society members. Over its lifetime, the Chronicle has only had two editors – Pat Lyne and Lady Scott; a testament to the dedication of breeders to the Connemara Pony.
Further information on the history of the breed and the BCPS can be found in Pat Lyne’s excellent publications, which are available to buy from the Shop.