Kerry Bog Pony


New Member
Dec 23, 2003
Central Scotland
Has anyone hear heard of the Kerry Bog Pony of Ireland? I came across the breed by chance last night whilst i was looking up information on the Connemara on the net. The Kerry Bog Pony stands at under 12hh and in 1994 there were only 18 ponies left in the world. The Kerry Bog Pony Society Of Ireland has now been set up and the breed is growing. Kerry Bog's were traditionally used to carry peat out of the Irish bogs. They are very similar to Shetlands but they have a dished face like an Arab.

Here is a pic -


I would love to get involved with the breed. If anyone hears of any Kerry Bog's for sale in Scotland then please let me know!!


Well-Known Member
Apr 16, 2000

These are the roots of the Icelandic horse. I think some are gaited are they not?..or they used to be.

They were the pony the Irish monks took over to Iceland back in the dim and distant, the Shetland horse went over to Iceland, the Fjord, the Bog pony and some gaited ponies from the Northern Fjords. I'm sure the DNA mob have traced DNA back to the Bog pony from the Icelandic.

The Folk in Iceland too have an awful lot of Irish genes, more so than Scandanavian, which is what everyone beleives.

There is a lot of bog pony in the Icelandics, or so they would have one beleive.

Looking at the picture it is a very good Shetland lookalike, a lot of Shetlands these days do have a dished face..and sometimes the gaits.

2000 years of breeding in isolation as produced the Icelandic which is really a small, hairy, gaited, hardy horse of great mettle. Not a soppy pony. I bet Bog ponies have oopinions...they look as if they might!


New Member
Dec 23, 2003
Central Scotland
Wow, it's great to talk to someone with knowledge of the breed! I've only just started researching the breed's history, characteristics, etc. so am still learning :)

I didn't know all that about the Irish monks and about how the Kerry Bog are the roots of the Icelandic :eek:

I'm going to get in touch with a lady who owns Kerry Bogs in Ireland to find out more about the breed, will post anything interesting i find out on here :)


A Horse Mad FEMALE
Jun 5, 2002
Co. Antrim, N. Ireland
Kerry Bog Ponies were originally bred in the seventeenth century in (you've guessed it) the bogs of Kerry specifically for working the peatlands to move the cut turf to drying areas. They were very sure footed and could "live virtually on air", being extraordinarily good-doers. In fact, they could survive on the heather and sphagnum moss that grew on the bogs, utilising land that was unavailable to cattle or even sheep. The farmers that owned them didn't even bother to tie them up, as they would graze on a small area of land without moving too far. Soon enough, just about every family in Ireland had a Kerry Bog Pony, or "Hobby" as they were known, hence the term "hobby horse". The ponies also worked on the beaches, hauling seaweed from the shore to fertilize the land, and even delivered the people to mass on Sunday.
However sometime around 1804, during the Peninsular Wars, the cavalry discovered these economic little ponies and bought them all up for use as pack animals. Few, if any returned. Around the same time, a funny looking creature called a donkey arrived from Spain and replaced the Hobby as the traditional beast of burden. It seems strange that an animal not even native to Ireland should be perceived as such an important part of Irish culture.
Kerry Bog Ponies are rather fine for a native breed, having the dished face of an Arab. Their height varies between 10 and 11.2hh and they can be any solid colour, namely chestnut and bay. Most of the ponies have long, flaxen manes and tails and they all have just a little feather on their legs. In winter they grow a thick, woolly coat, but their summer coat is short and silky. They prefer to live out all year, being extremely hardy, and need little or no feeding to keep them in top condition. Although their feet need regular paring, as the bogs they graze on are soft and don't wear down their hooves, they very rarely need any attention from veterinary surgeons. They even foal out in the field with no problems!
They are very intelligent and easy to train, and make wonderful children's riding ponies, being quiet and careful with their young jockeys. People who own themeven have had them work for "The Riding For The Disabled Association". Naturally enough, they also excel as driving ponies.

This is Dempsey Bog who was sold to the USA and is No. 00001 in the registry



More piccies

Last edited:


Well-Known Member
Apr 16, 2000
Your description is exactly that of a Shetland, peats, seaweed and Kirk on a Sunday!

Traditional kishies were used to flit peats (two basket panniers), but the Shetland also had to be a harness horse and work to a tip cart for tatties and the like.

The pics look more like the modern Icelandic in the long, but not over heavy frame.
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