My New Forest pony tale
A foal is lost but is it found?

Welcome to my New Forest Life Tales Issue #004 August 2010 - "A New Forest pony foal is lost - but is it found again by its mum?".

Sometimes living in this wonderful New Forest National Park can be quite upsetting. Since we started really observing the animals that gather outside our gates each day, we have been amazed at how quickly many of them get lost.

There doesn't seem to be much of a difference between the New Forest ponies or the cows - they all come adrift from the herd, become lost and panic then sets in.

My latest New Forest Tale this month is about a little New Forest foal which became lost and what actually happened to it before my eyes.

One of my favourite New Forest ponies is an old gelding who travels around with a very canny brood mare. She has a foal virtually every year and each time produces a very nice looking foal for her owner. The old gelding acts as a nanny or surrogate mother. When the youngster starts to feel its feet more and be more adventurous, you can often see the old gelding putting it back in its place and sometimes even keeping it away from danger.

So, I've only seen him in a caring and quite kind role. However, a few weeks ago the New Forest ponies and their foals were all grazing happily near to our cottage. The herd had moved on a bit and suddenly a little foal looked up from his sleep and found his mum was missing.

They always call out plaintively when this happens and are usually greeted by a reassuring whinny from mum who is usually not too far away. This didn't work and there was no whinny from mum. You then see panic really set in and they usually hurtle off at full pelt in completely the wrong direction to where mum actually is!

However, this little New Forest foal went up to the old gelding for reassurance and was very severely told off. He lunged forward towards the little foal so aggressively that the poor little thing fell over backwards!

When you have long spindly legs as a young foal, to fall over backwards on them is a very dangerous move. The gelding still advanced and the little one scrambled to its feet and struggled to get out of the way.

I could only stand and gasp - would the foal have broken a leg?

Those few seconds until he got up properly and ran off seemed like many long minutes. Was he OK? Why had the old gelding reacted like this?

Nature is often cruel as we all know and can see for ourselves from time to time.

This time she wasn't cruel. The little foal was astounded at such cruel behaviour but was unharmed - no leg breaks but a shock to the system, and perhaps a life lesson that even an old, trusted and usually dependable old fellow can have an off day?

Mum was quickly found and the mare and foal reunited and no harm done. This time nature and New Forest life had given me a happy ending which I was really grateful for.

There are many complex dynamics going on within a herd of New Forest animals and the more I have the chance to observe them the more fascinating I find them.

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.

Look out for the next one in a couple of weeks. I may stay with the lost and found theme and tell you of a young cow with attitude! it saw off a whole herd of New Forest ponies who tried their utmost to bully it - fascinating and really funny to watch. Visit New Forest Life 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 and I hope we can share many more together in the future as I tell you more of my New Forest tales.