I am sure most of you have come across the pounds walking in the New Forest. They are mostly known for being used at the drifts or "round ups" to drive the ponies into, to be checked over or caught to be taken in and handled by the owners.
But what some of you may not realise, these pounds get used at all times of year by commoners to round up their animals. The commoning community help each other out and when out checking their stock, they may well come across a pony that is poor or injured or see a pony they know the owners have been trying to catch but had no luck and will drive the pony into the pound while they contact the appropriate commoner. Or they may be out on horseback herding a particular pony of their own. It needs to be remembered that a lot of these ponies have been living wild in the forest and not used to being handled. It's not as simple as walking up to it and putting a halter over it's head.
Quite often underpasses and bridges have gates at either end and can be used as pounds too, like the one in the photo at Pigbush. Catching a pony can often take riders, walkers and a truck with a trailer and busy commoners take time to help out others with a carefully thought out plan in hope of outwitting the pony, that's even if it can be found in its usual haunt.
So, I ask you do your bit in helping them, help their ponies as they help our forest and please do not ever park in gateways and if you see a gate open on a pound, please don't close it... if you see a gate closed on a pound, please don't open it. Just leave it exactly as you found it and absolutely never let a pony out of a pound thinking it has got stuck. There will never be a commoner far away.
Running stock on the forest isn't an easy life but if the commoners didn't bother we would not have the beautiful and thriving landscape we all enjoy as it is the grazing, and the roaming of their animals that create it and manage it and having a little bit of awareness that the animals are being managed all year round will help them out hugely.