Three Highland ponies that carry deer carcasses on a remote Scottish peninsula are to have their wandering privileges curtailed.

The ponies have roamed free ever since the small enclosure they lived in during the stalking season fell in to disrepair.

But now a new £5,000 enclosure, in part paid for by a £2,292 grant from the John Muir Trust, will be built on the Knoydart Foundation, Inverness-shire, to house them.

Head stalker Jim Brown said: “The ponies are an integral part of our deer management operation, allowing us to extract deer carcasses from some of the most remote parts of the peninsula. To do this without them would require the use of all terrain vehicles [ATVs], which would detract from the wild quality of the area.”

The free-range ponies have been known to disappear into forests on the 7,000ha estate.

Mike Daniels of the John Muir Trust said: “We want to make sure that people living in remote communities are able to live sustainably and we support projects that benefit the local community and environment.

“The Knoydart Foundation sets a great example by using ponies for deer extraction, which are more environmentally sustainable than ATVs.”

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (8 September, 2011)