Taieri Hore and Ridgeway Connemara Ponies

Hello – my name is Taieri Hore, nee Kirkland. My husband is Wayne and my children, now adults, are Ross, Kathryn and Bruce.

I have been ‘horse mad’ all my life; I used to ride up on my dad’s old draft horse, one of my earliest memories. I got my first pony – Trixie, when I was 6. She was so naughty. I had to get mum to help put on the sack and surcingle, as she would both bite and kick! I progressed to a saddle when I could ride at all paces and stay on. That saddle was a pony pad, it was magic. I thought Trixie was the best pony in the world. Memories are wonderful are they not? I can still see my dad flying off her as he tried to sort her ‘out,’ she was all of 12 hands! She went to a far better home I was told!

My cousins gave me their old pony, Bess. For eight wonderful years she dominated my life, from the moment she arrived on the train til she died peacefully of old age. Bess was no oil painting, this was ‘beauty being in the eye of the beholder’, and today knowledge tells me a large amount of standardbred may have been in that little black power package of 13hh. We won all the trotting races, in fact we won most of the games and gymkhana events we entered, and we rode to them all. Once we rode 52 miles to a gymkhana, 11 of us and I was 11yrs old, the youngest. We entered the events the next day, at which I won the cup for the most points and we rode home the next.

In that wonderful year of being 11 I also gained my C certificate. at Pony Club. We had Misses Knox-Thomson and Dickens come to our PC in those days. They traveled in their caravan and were very strict in their teaching and expectations.

We used to ride for 2-3 hours to a hunt, hunt all day and ride home. Our ponies were so fit and we were also, they had two gears-go and stop!

My parents gave a lot of support over the years my siblings and I attended PC. I was the only one to carry on (Dad used to have a rule ‘no horse talk at the table!’). PC was big part of my life until very recently when I now take a few certificates and an odd lesson. With no family home I have taken up distance riding, both competitive and pleasure.

During my teenage years in PC I became an instructor, a position I really enjoyed and over the next few years furthering my knowledge to B cert examiner level.

It was at this time that I realised that there was a need for a pony that was of outstanding temperament, a good height, easy to keep (we did not have access to all the feeds and transport of today) and could perform in all the disciplines without getting out of control and putting the fear into all watching – not to mention those riding.

I was now married, living in Central Otago and should there be any little people that may one day ride, that pony really did need to be found.

I went searching; looking in all the books available and then wrote lots of letters (oh for the net then) and “found” the Connemara Pony.

I had been breeding the delightful Welsh Pony but wanted something of more height for the older members.

In 1970 I imported Connemara Park Roy from Australia. He was a nondescript yearling colt who from the beginning showed his great ability for jumping. Out of the loose box, out of most paddocks and finding him in the most amazing places, once on the verandah out of the snow! All that aside he became a wonderful ambassador for the breed in NZ. He was true to type (description found on site), a compact 14.2hh pony with an outstanding temperament and a magic ride in any company; a 12-year-old often trekked out on him in the high country of Central Otago.

Crossed with ponies and hacks, mostly Tbs, he left a legacy of jumping ponies.

In 1980 I imported 2 purebred mares, Blandings Juliet and Blandings Bridget; from those mares I bred many lovely ponies with the Ridgeway prefix. The offspring from these mares I bred with Barwidgee Erriff, this mating also left a very good line of excellent ponies, all true to type and with a love of jumping.

Our son Ross and daughter Kathryn both rode Connemara ponies. Kathryn gained her B cert onCanningvale Irish Prince. This pony is 17 years old and lives next door, the pride and joy of a lady who came to riding later in life. Ridgeway Solitaire, the second purebred born at Ridgeway, also lives there. These two ponies really belie their age, they have certainly ‘found their feet in clover’, the dream home for any pony. I have also ridden my ponies, from adult riding events to endurance trekking and pleasure.


I searched for a pony to met my requirements, I found a pony, I spent all my savings (I could not go and see him and buy him also), took a risk AND I have not been let down.

Connemara ponies have for over 30 years given us so much pleasure, we have met and continue to met the most wonderful people from all parts of the world. Some 33 years after CP Roy arrived in NZ I went to where his parents came from, Connemara in Ireland. To be at the place these Irish ambassadors came was such a thrill, words cannot describe the feeling, the land, the people, the sea, the air it all consumes one.

At the International AGM (International Committee of Connemara Pony Society) I found I was the one of the earliest breeders outside of their homeland. This was another moment in my life when I felt such depth of emotion to be amongst such dedicated knowledgeable Connemara Pony owners and breeders from around the world.

I have come a long way since those days of struggling with Trixie, those magic carefree days with Bess and those wonderful PC days both as a rider and an instructor. My parents’ support, four years with one the most outstanding horseman ever, the late Mr Shaw of Washdyke Timaru, where what I learnt he probably had forgotten, Top Rides with the PC movement, breeding, breaking (a skill learnt from Mr Shaw) and working Connemara ponies has been and continues to be a privilege indeed.

With Wayne, our children and ponies of which I am so proud would surely be the dream life of most.

Ridgeway Connemara Pony Stud’s first home was at Kyeburn, Central Otago, then to Naseby and back to Kyeburn from where in 1984 we shifted to Wairau Valley in Marlborough. It was from Wairau Valley that CP Roy went to Auckland. Both my foundation mares died early in unfortunate accidents whilst in Marlborough. I imported two more fillies, Blandings Kimberley and Blanding Jade, when in Kyeburn. Owing to our family situation I had to reduce numbers and I was fortunate to have Dr and Mrs Thompson purchase these ponies with CP Roy. In 1994 we went back to Otago and not long after a son of CP Roy, Waterfall Dan, from Blandings Kimberly, came to stand at Ridgeway. In 2001 CPSNZ purchased W. Dan and he stands back in the North Island.

I have several young ponies by W. Dan, they all show a lot of ‘type’ and although their sire may be small, 13hh, they are all approx 14hh and inherit his and his sire’s outstanding temperament.

Those of you reading this who already own a Connemara will be already blessed, to those who are looking for that special pony I trust you find one soon so that you too can have the enjoyment we all have had and continue to have from the Connemara Pony.