New Forest Snow March 2018

New Forest snow hit us very hard in the beautiful New Forest National Park in March 2018.

When the "Beast from the East" (as it was described in the press during March 2018), hit us, it was unbelievable.

A combination of blizzards, below freezing temperatures and heavy snow meant the New Forest ponies and other animals had a challenge on their hands.

But luckily they coped - despite the awful New Forest snow of March 2018.

How Did the New Forest Ponies Cope?

Luckily our Commoning animals coped well, on the whole. Here's how they did it.

  • New Forest ponies have a fantastic coat. It has great insulation and is designed to act in a certain way. A thick inner coat keeps the warmth in. 

  • Long hairs form a top coat which allows rain, and in this type of weather challenge - snow and wind - move along the line of the pony without settling directly into the coat.

  • I was surprised at how well this adaptation worked as the first herd of ponies I found huddling into the safety of gorse from the wind and snow had a "rug" of snow across their backs!

  • The long hairs couldn't work on the ponies backs but the thick inner coat could. 

  • The insulation was working and the coat was providing insulation. it did look quite amazing though!
  • Many (including mine) had manes packed with snow. Ice hung down from the end of some forelocks. However, by carefully feeling under the mane the neck was warm - again heat was being efficiently kept in. 


  • The belly areas were free of snow because the long hairs had moved the snow and wind along the specially designed body area of the ponies. You can always tell when a storm or rain is coming as you'll see ponies standing together with their backsides facing towards the direction of the bad weather to come!

  • Their bodies are designed to have rears which take the brunt of the wind and rain which is then fanned out along their sides by the long hairs and so dispersed at their front ends. Clever or what?

It's important to say that as New Forest Commoners we're responsible for ensuring that all our animals have good health. Those who are older or may be more vulnerable would be removed from the forest in weather conditions like this.

Our ponies have been receiving supplementary feeds of hay over the last few months to keep their "condition" up. This means they're more able to combat adverse weather conditions and keep healthy.

I hope you've enjoyed hearing about our New Forest snow of March 2018 - hopefully it doesn't come back - anytime soon!

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