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New Forest Life Tales, Issue #011 --A New Forest pony tale Sept 2012.
September 04, 2012

A New Forest Pony Tale. What next for New Forest foals born in 2012?

Welcome to my New Forest Life Tales Issue #011 September 2012.

Although I think we can all agree that 2012 has been an awful summer for weather, there have been some plus points in the New Forest National Park, for the animals at least.

Day after day of relentless rain and continual wellie boot wearing for us humans has, for the animals, meant that they had a constant supply of often, running fresh water and plentiful grass. They are all looking very robust and some have large girths and waistlines. On a serious note this means they are better prepared for a harsh winter as they've had good, nutritious food which has built them up over the last wet and dismal months.

A good rich supply of food for New Forest mares means good, rich milk for their foals and also for when they start to wean and eat independently.

Every year we find we have our favourites and this year has been no exception. It is thrilling to go out every day and discover a mare, who may have been a bit slow and lethargic the day before, carrying around a large and sometimes quite grotesgue midrift, has lost much of the bulge and is the proud and protectvie mother of a beautiful New Forest foal.

This is a very special time for us, and we are often lucky enough to have them presented to us outside our fence just hours or days after birth too.

So what happens to all these foals we have spent all summer following?

Will they stay out on the New Forest with their mothers?

Will they be sold on?

Where will they end up?

There isn't one answer to all these questions and the time for a decision is now coming close.

All the New Forest foals will be rounded up, with their mothers in the New Forest Drift. This is the yearly branding, marker fee payment time and health check for all the New Forest ponies.

Some foals (usually the fillies or females) will be kept by the Commoners who own them. Females tend to be kept more than males as they can be used to breed from and also because they don't need to be gelded or castrated like the colts (male foals).

If they stay with their mothers they will have to be weaned. (I've covered this in a previous tale which you may want to look back on.)

If they aren't weaned they tend to drag the health and condition of the mother down. You sometimes see quite "ribby" mares who are giving all the nutrients they get from their food into their milk and not enough is left to ensure their condition stays good. I've known of a mare this year who didn't have a successful weaning so when reunited with her foal allowed her to suckle again. She started to look a bit thin and a second weaning had to be done. Both mare and foal are now plump and healthy and enjoying a grass and heathland diet! We always have our favourites each year and today I've learned that a lovely little filly we have been watching all summer has been sold and will remain out on the New Forest, once she's been weaned, for us to enjoy and watch grow up into a strong and nice natured New Forest pony.

Good foals may be sold on and be taken off the New Forest and go to private owners. The New Forest pony makes a docile and good natured riding pony for a child and so the well bred ones will be snapped up.

Those who are male and not so good wont have such a happy future.

Like everything in our lives today their fate will be market driven. If the price is low, as it has been in the past years, their owners may decide to put them back out. They may decide to sell them at a loss and their future becomes an unknown.

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I hope you've enjoyed this small insight into living within the New Forest UK National Park I've been able to share with you.

Visit New Forest Life to find out more.

As you can see donkey foals are very special too.

There are loads of pictures of my life in this UK National Park throughout I really hope you enjoy them.

Thanks for subscribing to this ezine. I hope we can share many more together in the future, as you read of my New Forest Tales. Discover with me, what living in the New Forest National Park is really like.

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