This lovely scene greeted me a couple of weeks ago when I was driving through a lane near Brockenhurst, a brand new foal and its' Mum. Just out of the picture, in the foreground, was the afterbirth. the foal was about half an hour old.
I stayed to watch, careful not to intrude, along with about half a dozen other people who had been lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.
In case you're wondering, the collar round the mare's neck is reflective. It's put there by the pony's owner in the hope that it will offer some protection at night, by reflecting headlights of oncoming cars and warning the driver there is an animal nearby.
All ponies, donkeys and cattle on the Forest are owned by "Commoners", although they may never be taken into a field, stable or barn. Pigs are only allowed onto the Forest in the autumn, for pannage - eating acorns which are poisonous to ponies.
The ponies are checked annually in the Drifts, when they have a medical check, are wormed and are marked for ownership - some by clipping the tail into a particular shape while others are branded. The mark of ownership ensures that the Agisters know who to contact should an animal get into trouble.
The area known as The New Forest was commandeered as a "Forest" for hunting deer in 1078, by the Conqueror.
Rights were granted to those who owned certain plots of land within the area :-
Pasture = grazing of ponies, donkey, cattle - (sheep are no longer permitted);
Estover or Fuelright = fuel, in the form of timber, so many cords a year - a cord is a 6ft x 6ft pile;
Pannage = allowing pigs to eat acorns in the autumn;
Marl = the right to take limey clay from the ground, to improve soil fertility;
Turbary = the right to cut turf, to use as fuel within a dwelling
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The Hospital of ...