A small native pony from the Republic or Ireland is making a comeback after it almost became extinct.

The Kerry Bog pony was rediscovered a few years ago and following DNA tests by Weatherbysit is now a registered breed numbering 126.

The Kerry Bog Society, founded in 1997, is aiming to promote the breed and hopes to get special classes for them at shows.

Society member, Norma Cook, who owns a Kerry Bog mare and foal, plus a gelding, says: “They are smashing little ponies. I’m looking forward to driving them. But I believe they would also make ideal children’s mounts.

“They have lovely temperaments, they’re sensible, sure-footed and well-mannered. They may not have the flashy action of, say, the Welsh Section A, but it’s a nice action.”

Norma Cook says that unsoundness is rare in the breed and they have large hearts and lung capacities which enables them to survive in harsh weather conditions.

The ponies standat around 10-11.2hh and were originally used for draught work, hauling turf and seaweed.

“Machinery took over so they almost died out. Now few people have heard of them, even in Ireland,” explains Norma.

For more details on the breed, contactNorma Cook (tel: 00 353 45 865363).