Breed Characteristics from the Forest

The New Forest pony is one of the native pony breeds of the UK. Their history dates back to 1066 and the time of William the Conqueror who set aside the New Forest as a Royal Hunting Reserve. Even earlier than that, Canutes Forest Law of 1016 records the presence of the ponies in this area. The ponies are renowned for their docile temperaments, hardiness, strength, speed and surefootedness, all qualities which have helped them to survive in the harsh and rugged environment of the Forest. Today it is these same qualities of strength and athleticism combined with a remarkably sensible and kind temperament that win over the loyalty of anyone who has the opportunity to experience them.

Breed in Australia
The first New Forest pony to come to Australia was ‘Burton Sligo’ in 1931. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that more ponies were imported with the arrival of four New Forest stallions from England, ‘Priory Sunshade’, ‘Broadlands Bright Seraphin’, ‘Mudeford Peter Piper’ and Vernons Sweet Sultan. Since then their numbers have steadily grown and their reputation as a versatile pony suited to adults and children, has grown with them.

New Forest Pony Breed Standard - revised 2009

Height
The upper limit is 14.2h (148cms). There is no lower limit. All ponies should be judged equally regardless of height. Where there are sufficient numbers of ponies competing, they are shown in 2 height classes, 13.2h (138cms) and under, and over 13.2h (138cms).

Colour
New Forest ponies may be any colour except piebald, skewbald, spotted or blue-eyed cream. Palomino or very light chestnut and cream ponies with dark eyes are not eligible as stallions. Blue eyes are not permitted.

White markings are permitted on the head and lower legs only. A pony shall not have any white markings:
(i) behind the head,
(ii) above a horizontal line level with the bony protuberance of the accessory carpal bone at the back of the knee in the forelimb, or
(iii) above the point of the hock in the hind limb, unless proven to be due to trauma/injury.

Hence, white markings other than on the head and lower limbs are not acceptable unless the absence of pigment in hair or skin is known to have been associated solely with skin trauma.

Type
New Forest ponies should be of working type with substance. They should have sloping shoulders, strong quarters, good depth of body, straight limbs, plenty of flat bone and good round hard feet. Length of body should exceed height and depth of body should equal length of leg. The ponies are quite capable of carrying adults, while narrow enough for small children. The smaller ponies Though not up to so much weight, often show more quality.

Action
This should be free, active and straight, but not exaggerated. Movement should come from the top of the shoulder, not from the elbow and hocks should really be used.

Temperament
The New Forest pony should have an ideal temperament and be very easy to train.

Showing Rules for New Forest Ponies
1. Ponies are shown unplaited but may have lightly pulled manes and tails.
2. The jaw line and heels may be trimmed, but the whiskers should be left untrimmed.
3. No make-up is allowed or any other falsification of markings.