The New Forest Pony is one of the most recognized of the nine breeds of pony of the British Isles; it is a breed that is valued for its strength. Many of them are still roaming the New Forest, hence, where they get their name. The New Forest area lies between Southampton and Bournemouth in Hampshire. There are stud books of these horses that date back to 1906, and the breed itself has been traced back as far 1016. The New Forest Pony appears wild to some, but in fact is owned by many commoners.
Thoroughbred and Arab blood has been introduced into the New Forest Pony on several different occasions to improve the height and the all around looks of the pony. The areas of the New Forest that the pony inhabits are commonly called "haunts."
The New Forest Pony is mostly known for making great rides for mounted games participants and gymkhanas for their great willed spirit and swift speed in the game ring. They are also known for making great little show jumping ponies.
Today's New Forest Pony is actually the result of many different breeds of pony that have been released in the New forest over the years. The characteristics of the ponies actually vary from pony to pony as another result of the interbreeding. A few of the bloodlines that were introduced to the pony were Welsh, Arab, and Hackney; later another attempt to improve the ponies was made with the introduction of Fell ponies, dales, highlands, Dartmoor, and Exmoor bloodlines. There have some problems with the interbreeding of different bloodlines, in some cases the Pony has a problem coping with sparse winter food and sometimes their type is not easily distinguishable.
In 1765, in an attempt to make further improvements to the bloodline of the New Forest Pony, the introduction of a famous Thoroughbred by the name of "Marske" was carried out.
Later, in the 1850s, Queen Victoria lent an Arab horse to the feudal caretakers to make another attempt to fortify and strengthen the New Forest's bloodline.
Starting in 1960, the New Forest Pony Breeding and Cattle Society published their own stud book unlike most breeders and has done so ever since. In recent years, the number of New Forest Ponies has grown a great deal, and the horses can be seen in not only the United Kingdom, continental Europe, and the United States. In 2002 the Breeding Society began to grade the New Forest Pony, this is done in hopes to encourage better upkeep of these ponies and see which breeds would be better for the bloodlines.
In 1989, the New Forest Pony Association and Registry of North America were formed by two Rhode Island native women, Mrs. Lucille Guilbault and Mrs. Judy Waltz. Later in 1992, they broadened their operations, commitment, and responsibilities to the Forrest Pony breed to the horses that are in existence in the United States and Canada.