New Forest Foal distrupts breakfast

This morning a beautiful New Forest foal was born opposite the Cottage Lodge hotel, in Brockenhurst. Within minutes it was standing on wobbly legs drawing a crowd. The breakfast room at Cottage Lodge Hotel emptied as half eaten plates were abandoned whilst customers rushed out to see the miracle of new born life.  For half and hour we all stood and watched the tiny mare steady herself, discover her mother, find her breakfast and then trot happily off  behind her tired, but happy, mother to a safer spot than the roadside.

The mother, who runs wild on the forest with her sisters, aunties and mum, was rightly proud of her new fawn-coloured foal. With a white stripe down the middle of her face this little treasure will be a beauty. There are five thousand New Forest Ponies (all mares) living in natural conditions across the 94,000 acres that make up the stunning New Forest National Park. The new foals arrive during the month of May. It is a wonderful sight to see them playing on the open moorlands of the National Park. New Forest Foals stay with their mothers until August, when the owners of the ponies decide if they would like to sell them at the Beaulieu Sales.

They make perfect children’s ponies, and are very easy to keep. The are hardy and can stay out all winter without a rug on. They have very thick coats keeping them snuggly and warm no matter what the weather. In the winter they eat holly as well as grass. They pull down the holly from the trees using their specially adapted tongue. Then they stamp on the holly to break it up and make it easier to eat. The ponies leave the holly for a few days to soften and return to eat is later.

New Forest Ponies need to eat up to 18 hours a day to make sure that they get enough nutrition. So they can be found eating out on the forest at any time of the day or night. So, if you are driving around the forest in the dark it is a good idea to be extra cautious. Most ponies wear reflective collars to help drivers see them at night. But, the new foals are too young for collars, and they aren’t particularly street wise. So, if you are visiting during this beautiful time of the year please be very vigilant.

As well as New Forest Ponies May is also the time to see bluebells, visit the stunning Exbury Gardens, where there is a world class collection of plants, and to see the birds migrating at Pennington Marshes. With so many things to do it is no wonder that May is a really popular time for regular New Forest visitors to pop down for a night or two. You get the best bargains by coming down mid-week. Sunday to Thursday the restaurants are less crowded, there is more choice of hotels rooms and the weather can often be mild and sunny.

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