Don't feed the ponies!
Although initially these pictures may seem amusing it is a reminder of the ongoing problem caused by human interaction with the grazing ponies.
Me and my husband were sat in the car at Stoney Cross enjoying the view and a cup of coffee when this pony appeared at the window.
I shut the window and he pushed his face against it. Because he was being ignored he decided to rub himself on the wing mirror which obviously got my attention!
So after getting out of the car and moving him on he quickly returned and tried to pull the window out with his teeth!
These are not just learnt behaviours due to human interaction but aggressive behaviour. This pony (along with his buddies) hangout at the carpark waiting for an easy feed from willing humans. The herd don't forage or behave naturally creating not only aggression amongst the herd but with people and they don't concern themselves whether you are young, old or vulnerable! Oh and quite often it is only the most dominant, aggressive member of the herd that will eat. If that wasn't enough, ponies quickly learn to come to car windows and can easily be encouraged onto roads causing a risk of road accidents.
Potentially, this could mean the offending ponies being removed from the forest, or becoming poor due to not foraging naturally or even being hit by a car. Then consider the owner of that pony and the upset and worry it causes for them along with the financial implication of removing the pony from the forest to bring it back to health. Finally with the removal of ponies we could lose the special habitats created by these grazing animals.
If you are tempted to feed the cute pony gazing at you through your car window, or even innocently open your window to interact with it please for the sake of not only that pony, but the herd, the owner, the hard work of commoners and even the landscape of the forest please resist and consider the ripple effect of your action 🙏 thank you 🐎💜
I know and appreciate most of you are well aware of this situation and wouldn't dream of feeding or interacting with the grazing animals, but feel free to share this information far and wide as I know this is not a problem that just happens here in the New Forest 🌳🌲
Human/animal interaction is an issue all over the world! 😔