New Forest Pony

| Updated: January 16, 2023
New Forest Pony in the woods

Origin and History:

The New Forest Pony is an iconic breed, steeped in history and tradition. The breed is believed to have originated in the New Forest, an area in the south of England, where they have been in residence since William the Conqueror established the area as a royal hunting ground in 1079. It is thought that the breed was a result of the crossbreeding of native ponies with Arabian, Andalusian, and Barb bloodlines. Over the centuries, these ponies have been bred to live in the wild, withstanding the harsh conditions of the New Forest.

Throughout history, they have been used as pack animals and for light draft work, as well as being ridden by local people and forest wardens. They have also been used in the military, most notably during the First and Second World Wars. The New Forest Pony was recognized as a breed in its own right in 1905 when the Burley and District NF Pony Breeding and Cattle Society was formed. Since then, the breed has become increasingly popular worldwide.

Physical Characteristics:

The New Forest Pony, also known as the ‘Native Pony’ of the British Isles, is a breed that is truly one of a kind. Standing between 11.2-12.2 hands in size, the New Forest Pony is known for its sturdy, compact build and its hardy nature. This breed is usually chestnut in color and has white markings on its face and legs, though variations in color do occur. This breed is known for its intelligence, gentle temperament, and trainability.

New Forest Pony foal grazing
Cherry Walters/

In terms of life expectancy, New Forest Ponies can live up to 25-30 years if properly cared for, making them great long-term companions for anyone. With proper attention and care, this breed can make a great addition to any family. So if you’re looking for an intelligent, gentle, and hardy pony, the New Forest Pony may be the perfect fit!

Unique Characteristics:

The New Forest Pony is a unique breed of horse that has been around for centuries. It’s known for its gentle nature and strong work ethic, making it a great companion for both experienced and novice riders. It’s also known for its unique characteristics that make it stand out from other breeds. Its coat is typically bay, chestnut, or black, and it has a thick, wavy mane and tail. Its legs are short and sturdy, with the hind legs sometimes being longer than the front. It has a strong, muscular build, with a long, arched neck and a rounded back. Its ears are small and delicate, and its eyes are alert and intelligent. Their temperament is gentle and kind, and they’re very loyal and affectionate with its owners. The New Forest Pony is a great choice for anyone looking for a loyal, hardworking and kind-natured horse.

Interesting Facts:

The New Forest Pony is an iconic British breed with a unique history and many interesting facts. Here are a few of the most interesting facts about the New Forest Pony:

  1. The New Forest Pony is a fairly ancient breed, having been around since the 11th century. It is believed they were left behind by the Romans, and they’ve been roaming the New Forest ever since!
  2. The breed was developed to be an all-rounder, capable of carrying a heavy load and also used for riding. They are also hardy and sure-footed, making them ideal for trekking and even racing!
  3. The New Forest Pony is one of the few breeds that is still allowed to graze freely in the New Forest. They are closely managed by the local commoners, whose families have been doing so for hundreds of years, to ensure the population remains healthy.

Sports and Competitions:

The New Forest Pony is a truly versatile breed and can be seen participating in a variety of sports! With a strong, hardy body and an independent yet willing nature, the New Forest Pony is well suited for a number of sporting disciplines. From show jumping to dressage, and cross country to eventing, the New Forest Pony is an ideal mount for those looking to take their equestrian pursuits to the next level. They are also popular in mounted games, polo, trekking, and endurance riding. The New Forest Pony is known for its intelligence, courage, and agility, making it an ideal partner for a wide range of sporting activities. With the right training and a loving owner, the New Forest Pony can be a fun and rewarding mount for any equestrian enthusiast.

New Forest Pony posing in a field.
Paul Maguire/

Diet and Nutrition:

The New Forest Pony is an iconic breed of horse that is known for its hardiness and versatility. With its long history of being used for everything from forestry work to show jumping, the New Forest Pony has a long and interesting past. But with all of its hard work, the New Forest Pony needs the right diet and nutrition to stay healthy and happy.

A healthy diet for the New Forest Pony should include plenty of hay and grass, as well as a variety of grains, legumes, and vegetables. It’s important to feed your pony a balanced diet that provides the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. The New Forest Pony also needs minerals and vitamins to stay healthy, so make sure you supplement your pony’s diet with appropriate minerals and vitamins.

Finally, the New Forest Pony should have access to plenty of fresh, clean water throughout the day. This helps keep your pony hydrated and can help prevent colic and other digestive issues.

Common Health Issues:

The New Forest Pony is a hardy and beautiful breed, but as with any animal, it’s important to be aware of potential health issues that could arise. Common health problems to look out for include respiratory issues such as heaves, which are caused by an allergy to dust or mold, and can result in labored breathing. Another issue is laminitis, which can be caused by excessive grazing of lush, green grass, and is characterized by pain and inflammation of the horse’s hooves. It’s also important to be aware of the potential for trauma, especially in a breed of pony that is prone to being strong-willed, as well as seasonal conditions such as mud fever, which can occur due to wet and muddy conditions. With proper care and attention, however, the New Forest Pony can enjoy a long and healthy life.


Grooming a New Forest pony is one of the most rewarding experiences for any equestrian! Not only does it keep them looking their best, but it also allows you to bond with your pony and check for any health issues. To get started, brush your pony’s coat to remove any dirt, dust, and tangles. Make sure to use a soft-bristled brush in the direction of your pony’s hair growth. After that, use a sweat scraper or towel to remove excess moisture from your pony’s coat. Next, use a hoof pick to clean out any mud or debris from the crevices of their hooves. Finally, use a mane comb to detangle their mane and tail. Once you have finished grooming your pony, reward them with a treat or a nice scratch behind the ears. Grooming your New Forest pony is a great way to keep them looking and feeling their best!

Famous Examples:

The New Forest Pony has been making quite a splash in media and history lately. It is a breed that is sure to leave an impression, with its strong build, thick mane and tail, and majestic presence. Not only is it a beautiful breed, but it is also one of the oldest and most beloved in the world. The New Forest Pony has been featured in books, movies, and even in the Olympics. Its long and noble heritage has been celebrated in many forms, and its presence will continue to be felt in the future. Its strong, hardy nature has made it a favorite among equestrians, and its intelligence and agility have made it a great choice for many disciplines. Whether you are a lover of history or the newest fan of the breed, the New Forest Pony is sure to put a smile on your face.

Where to Adopt or Buy:

Adopting or buying a New Forest Pony is a great way to find a faithful companion and get a new member of your family. The New Forest Pony is a beautiful, strong, and versatile breed that is sure to bring joy and love to you and your family. So, where do you start?

Well, the first step to finding your perfect New Forest Pony is to decide if you want to adopt or buy. Adopting is a great option if you are looking for a more affordable way to find a new companion. Adopting from a rescue or sanctuary is more affordable and will give you the opportunity to give a home to an animal in need. However, if you are looking for a specific pony, buying from a breeder might be the way to go. Breeding farms are a great place to find healthy and well-bred New Forest Ponies that are sure to bring you lots of joy. The New Forest Pony Society of North America has some great resources to help you out in your search!

Wild New Forest Pony
Jamie osborn/


The New Forest Pony is a truly special breed of horse. Not only are they incredibly hardy and resilient, they are also incredibly loyal and smart. They make excellent riding companions and can often be seen galloping through the forest with their owners. They are a great option for those looking for a horse that is both low maintenance and highly capable. With their beautiful coats, strong legs, and gentle temperaments, they make a wonderful addition to any family or stable. So if you’re looking for an equine partner that is both intelligent and dependable, the New Forest Pony might be the perfect choice for you.


Do you have questions about the New Forest Pony? You’ve come to the right place! These inquisitive and hardy ponies are truly a sight to behold. Here are some FAQs about the New Forest Pony to help you learn more about this amazing breed.

What is the origin of the New Forest Pony?

The New Forest Pony is a breed of pony that originated in the New Forest region of England. The breed dates back to the 11th century and is believed to be descended from the ponies of William the Conqueror.

What is the temperament of the New Forest Pony?

The New Forest Pony is a calm, friendly, and inquisitive breed. They are intelligent and willing to learn, making them a great choice for riders of all levels.

What is the size of the New Forest Pony?

The New Forest Pony typically stands between 11 and 12 hands.

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