Kerry Bog Pony
Kerry Bog Pony: The Kerry Bog Pony, also known as "the hobby", is a very old Mountain and Moorland breed of draft pony originating in Ireland. Traditionally it used for hauling peat from the bogs.
The breed has a reputation for being sensible, well mannered, loyal, and courageous and was commonly used on small farms. Its use was affected by the widespread famine in Ireland in the 19th century, when so many people left the land. The Napoleonic Wars further eroded the ponies' numbers in Ireland, as the British swept through and conscripted them for pack ponies in the army. By the 20th century, the breed had almost vanished, declining to as few as an estimated 40.
In the 1990s the pony was saved from extinction by the tireless efforts of a Kerryman named John Mulvihill and John Flynn of Weatherby’s, Ireland’s leading DNA laboratory. To obtain evidence in support of preservation, a genetic analysis of these survivors was undertaken by Weatherbys Laboratory confirming unique genetic breed markers. Foundation ponies were identified and blood typed to establish the breed and the "hobby" was saved.
In 2003 the first breeding herd was imported into the United States. Ireland has recognized the breed as its National Heritage Pony. Stud books and registries now exist for the ponies in Ireland and the United States. Through an extensive breeding program, the once small small herd is growing in number, with approximately 200 plus bog ponies today.
The pony evolved over the centuries as a powerful, small draft, a survivor of the harsh weather conditions of Ireland. The average height of the kerry is 10 to 12 hands and colors are bay, chestnut, black, but also dun, roan, grey. Tobiano, sabino and rabicano colorations are also known to occur in the breed.
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