Junior jockeys are being challenged to help rein in the erosion of the fragile New Forest by horse riders.

Hooves straying off the beaten tracks across the forest are wearing away the heath and exposing the thin soils, which are then in danger of being washed away.

Forestry Commission wildlife experts are launching a campaign to encourage riders to stick to the forest trails. Young riders who come up with a catchy slogan for the campaign can win a bag of horse feed donated by Lymington suppliers SCATS.

All entrants have to do is send a postcard to the Forestry Commission with their personal pledge to stick to the tracks and a slogan of not more than 30 words to encourage other riders to do the same.

Entries should be sent toYoung Equestrians Competition, Forestry Commission, Queens House, Lyndhurst SO43 7NH before the end of March.

The anti-erosion scheme is part of the Forestry Commission’s £1.7 million contribution to the five-year New Forest LIFE Partnership project backed by European funding to restore the conservation value of 10,000 acres of the forest.

Forestry Commission LIFE ranger Vicky Myers said: “Young people are the future of horse riding in the New Forest so we want them to join us in helping toprotect the landscape we all love.”