The New Forest Pony is native to England, and was first found roaming the New Forest by William the Conqueror. It is estimated that the ponies were there as much as sixty years before being discovered, allowing them time to adapt to rough, low-nutrient plants and develop into hardy little ponies. From time to time, other breeds were added to the native ponies, including Arabians, Throughbreds, and Welsh ponies, all of which contributed to making a diverse, hardy breed.
|New Forest Pony credit|
In 1910, around the time when the breeding of the ponies was taken more seriously, the government decided to record the New Forest Ponies in the National Studbook, which meant that any native pony could cross-breed with the New Forest Ponies. This was later stopped when the New Forest Pony Breeding and Cattle Society opened its own New Forest Pony stud book.
In the 1950s, England had begun exporting their ponies to other countries, including the U.S. and Canada. Originally, only 22 New Forest ponies, three of which were geldings, were exported to the U.S., and 12 to Canada. Now, there are over 300 in North America.
The New Forest Pony Association was founded in 1989, by Mrs. Lucille Guilbault and Jody Waltz, and is open to New Forest Ponies throughout North America.
Breed Description and Uses
Though pony-sized at an average of 11 to 14.2 hands, the New Forest Pony resembles a horse more than any other breed from the UK. The shoulders slope into the withers, which is more common in horses than ponies. Life in the forest has caused the pony to develop in to a robust, sure-footed pony that is both strong and docile.
Today, most New Forest Ponies roam southern England, though some are used for show jumping, dressage, driving, and as pleasure mounts.