Those of you who have visited the New Forest already will have noticed many of our famous residents. The New Forest ponies have been grazing this area for over 2000 years and are extremely valuable to this National Park for many reasons.
The ponies play a huge role in the Biodiversity of the forest and create many photo opportunities for locals and visitors alike.
Come spring time you’ll begin to spot the little foals following their mothers around the area, trying to make sense of their new world. They can be a little wobbly at first and quite timid with visitors so don’t expect to get close, just admire from afar.
So are these ponies wild? No they are owned by the New Forest Commoners however are allowed to roam freely around the forest.
During summer and autumn the Commoners organise ‘Pony Drifts’ to check the health and wellbeing of their ponies and also clip their tails.
The ponies you see out and about are pure bred New Forest ponies and this can be determined by their colours and markings. This is thanks to the Verderers for keeping an eye on the breeding programme.
Between April and June is when the breeding programme begins as the Stallions are let out onto the forest to mate with the roaming Mares.
Word of Advice During Your Visit
Remember, ponies, cattle and donkeys have the right of way on the road. Approach slowly, stop is needs be and don’t hurry them. Sadly many are killed in road accidents on an annual basis therefore to reduce the number of fatalities we must all remain aware of our four legged travellers.
Admire these beautiful animals from a far, especially around the young. Mares can become very protective of their foals. This also goes for the Stallions around their Mares too; they can turn quite aggressive if you come too close.
Please do not feed the ponies either. There is a bylaw which forbids the feeding of livestock in the area and if you are caught you can be fined £200 and even receive a criminal record. Aside from that, these animals are wild therefore they have plenty to eat in their natural habitat; they don’t need your sandwich!
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