New Forest Pony
- Height: 12-14.2 hands (48-56.8”)
- Physique: Strong and compact
- Weight: 695 lb
- Lifespan: 25-30 years
- Best Suited For: All levels of horse owners and riders, including children
- Temperament: Easy to train, gentle, willing to please, quiet, smart, docile, friendly
- Comparable Breeds: Welsh Pony, Dartmoor Pony
New Forest Pony Breed History
The New Forest Pony is named after the New Forest, which is located in Hampshire in southern England, as that is the location where these ponies originated from. But this pony is actually one of nine native breeds from the U.K. And it is believed that ponies have been grazing in the New Forest area for thousands of years. Experts also think that New Forest Ponies, in particular, have been living there since 1016, but it is difficult to trace the exact origins of this pony breed.
Over time, New Forest Ponies mixed with quite a few other equine breeds, either naturally or as a result of human intervention. And it is believed that, from around the 1800s onward, several equine breeds were used to help improve the New Forest Pony bloodline. The breeds that mixed with the New Forest Pony included the Thoroughbred and the Arabian, as well as the Welsh Pony, the Dartmoor Pony, and the Exmoor Pony. Others included the Hackney Horse, the Fell Pony, the Dales Pony, and the Highland Pony. As a result, the New Forest Pony has genes that are more diverse than other British equine breeds. However, the breed was also influenced by the environment that it lived in, so these animals have become rather hardy and tough.
The New Forest Pony has a friendly and docile temperament.
Today, the New Forest Pony is a popular breed around the world, as these horses have been exported to countries including Australia, the United States, France, Sweden, and Canada, as a few examples, since the 1950s. These ponies can be used as driving horses and as leisure horses, and they also do well in areas like jumping and dressage, thanks to their physique and personality.
One of the many reasons why the New Forest Pony has become such a popular breed is because of its friendly and docile temperament. These gentle yet strong and sturdy ponies are typically easy to train, and they are also multi-talented, intelligent, quiet, versatile, and willing to please. Plus, compared to other native pony breeds from the British Isles, the New Forest Pony is the one that is the least afraid of people. For these reasons, the ponies can be used in everything from endurance riding and general riding, to jumping, work, and dressage.
When it comes to height, the New Forest Pony doesn’t have a lower limit.
When it comes to height, the New Forest Pony actually does not have a lower limit. But the maximum height for this breed is 14.2 hands. Also, when you look at the body of a New Forest Pony, you might even notice that this breed is more like a horse than a pony. And these ponies are considered hardy with straight action.
A New Forest Pony should feature strong quarters and sloping shoulders, along with a short back, short neck, and long head. You will also notice good depth, feet that are round and hard, and limbs that are straight.
The body should be strong enough to carry an adult, as well as narrow enough to carry a small child. However, smaller New Forest Ponies likely won’t be able to carry adults at all.
The New Forest Pony is hardy and strong.
Most often, the New Forest Pony is either gray, chestnut, or bay in color. However, the New Forest Pony could actually showcase any color except cream with blue eyes, skewbald, and piebald. Also, light chestnut and palomino, as well as cream with dark eyes, are ineligible as licensed stallions, so you will only find mares and geldings sporting light chestnut and palomino colors. Blue eyes are never permitted, and there are also limitations with regards to white markings. For example, white markings are only allowed on the lower legs and on the head, as long they are not behind the head, above the metacarpal bone of the foreleg at the bend in the pony’s knee, or above the area of the pony’s hock on the hind leg.
When it comes to grooming your New Forest Pony, the same basic routine that could be used for any other horse breed will be sufficient. Investing in an equine grooming kit that contains various brushes will allow you to get the job done while bonding with your pet. Plus, every grooming session is a great opportunity to examine your pony’s body and hooves for any signs of infection or injuries that need to be treated promptly.
Using with a curry comb is a good way to start your pony’s grooming session. Using circular movements, you could use this comb to remove debris, dirt, and excess hair from your pet’s body. A body finishing brush could help you clean more sensitive areas like your pony’s legs while removing even more debris and loose hair. And a shedding blade, along with a dandy brush, could both be used to clean the coat even more. Once your pony’s coat is clean and shiny, you could use a damp, soft cloth to clean around the eyes and ears. A mane comb and a tail brush could also be used to ensure your pony’s mane and tail are free of tangles and look soft and smooth. Finally, a hoof pick could be used to completely clean out the hooves. And if you ever need to bathe your pony, opting for a gentle shampoo designed for horses is best.
Photo credit: Cherry Walters/Shutterstock; Jamie osborn/Shutterstock; CBCK/Shutterstock