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New Forest Ponies and Tradition

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Tags: New Forest Pony, Breeding

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In most areas were there are wild populations of horses or ponies there is a tradition of some type of round-up or catch program that allows the wild herds to be kept at a manageable level in relation to the amount of forage and space now available. Since the New Forest grazing area is confined by development and farm lands on all sides, it is very important to carefully manage the number of wild New Forest Ponies and avoid overpopulating the area.

There is a strong tradition of allowing the New Forest wild ponies to exist in their natural state, although there have been selected attempts to modify the wild breed. There is no doubt that domestic horses and ponies have made their way into the wild herd, thereby modifying the genetics somewhat, even if not by direct planning. In addition, Thoroughbred blood was introduced in 1765 through the use of a Thoroughbred stallion named Marske. This was an attempt to refine the ponies and increase their size, making them more versatile as all around ponies for riding, showing, and driving. Queen Victoria also provided an Arabian stud by the name of Zorah to be used on the grazing reserve to further refine the New Forest in the later years of the 1850's. These additional bloodlines have helped the overall appearance of the already hardy ponies. Throughout history Dartmoor and Exmoor ponies as well as Fell, Highland, and even Dales ponies have all run with the herd for different seasons to increase the genetic pool and add various characteristics to the New Forest breed.

There is a traditional sales venue for New Forest Ponies known as the Beaulieu Road Sales yard. This yard or sales facility provides the proper corrals and yards to safely keep the semi-wild New Forest Ponies that are brought in by the owners of the herds running in the New Forest reserve. These young horses or foals are sold in the spring or fall, with those young horses that are halter broke eligible to enter the pre-sale shows. Horses in these shows are ranked and judged which allows prospective owners to understand how a professional judge views the pony before they actually place a bid. The Beaulieu Road Sales yard has been run several times a year to auction off the wild and semi-wild stock from the New Forest since World War II. People come from all over the world to bid on these hardy, sturdy and well bred ponies.

There are more and more New Forest Ponies that are bred in private studs and on private farms across Europe, the United Kingdom and even in Canada, the United States and Australia. These domestically bred New Forest Ponies are registered and are selectively bred to maintain the tradition of a strong, sturdy all round pony that is ideal for children as well as young adults. Out breeding with other lines is carefully controlled by the New Forest Pony Breeding and Cattle Society which has been maintaining the stud book since 1910.

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