Florrie's Story Florrie's Story Florrie's Story Florrie's Story

I have not been down to beautiful Clifden since October 2007. At
that time, I saw a grand type of a little white mare in the sale.
She was chunky in build, about 14hh, and carrying her second
foal. Her feet were a little cracked, but I imagined that was
something I would sort out with a good mineral supplement ( we
use seaweed minerals for our cattle and ponies ), so I bought
her. When I went to pay, and get the transfer of ownership form
signed, it turned out the passport was not printed yet; so it was
not until several months later that I found out her registered
name. In the meantime, she came home to Co.Armagh, kindly
transported by a neighbour, and I named her Florrie.
Florrie had been bred in Co.Clare, and she produced a filly to Shadow's Dun the following April. Her feet did not make the
improvement I had anticipated, and I worried that there must be something that I was
doing wrong. She was not shod or worked. None of the rest of my herd had feet that
cracked off around the edges like hers. She subsequently had more foals, to 3 different
stallions, and their feet are all normal. Florrie’s hooves never grow long enough for a
proper 'trim', but I use a 5cm wood rasp,
much finer than the normal farriers' rasp, to
tidy off the edges. By co-incidence, I also
have a half-sister of Florrie's, but her feet
are just fine !
It was only late in 2011 that I came across an article on the internet about the genetic
condition Hoof Wall Separation
Syndrome ( HWSS ). The more I read,
the more I realised that my lovely Florrie
was affected by this condition. I was very
concerned, though also relieved -
knowing at last that my management was
not at fault. Now was the dilemma - what
was the responsible thing to do ? Though
she was never lame, it was unlikely she would be able to be ridden, and for me to
continue to breed her might be irresponsible. How good it was to get support and advice
from HWSS group members, and to speak in person with Karen Vicencio when she
came to present the issue of HWSS at the AGM of the NICPBA the following April !

When the time came to submit blood samples for the genetic research into HWSS being carried out by Dr.Finno and her colleagues
in UC Davis, my vet came, and we sampled all the Connemara broodmares and stud colts in my herd. I am proud that my ponies'
contributions are among the pioneers that have helped towards eliminating this clinical condition which is now designated as a
recognised genetic disease in the Connemara Pony population. It is through DNA testing and judicious breeding that the worldwide
reputation of our favourite breed will be maintained.
I have never, ever, regretted my choice. Happily she is not severely afflicted; she is so good natured, and I love her ! And now,
thanks to the work of the Connemara Research Group, I know I can safely breed her to stallions who are tested as non-carriers of
the gene responsible for HWSD, and she can continue to do what she does best.... She just LOVES being a Mum !
Finola, Florrie, and the Donegreagh Connemaras.