New Forest breeding reduced following poor pony sales

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The number of stallions released on to the New Forest for breeding has halved this year following another poor pony sales in April.

Ten stallions were brought in early during the second week of June after only a month on the forest, in another effort to reduce the number of youngstock produced next year.

In 2011, 20 stallions were turned out and, before cutbacks were made, 40 used to run with mares in the forest for four months in the spring.

Sue Westwood, clerk of the New Forest verderers – who look after the forest – told H&H: “We now have a nucleus of about 23 stallions that are the best available.

“They are good horses and have all been inspected and passed a certain standard.

“The Beaulieu Road Sales in April were very disappointing, a lot of yearlings weren’t sold.

“It’s just a result of the economy – people are reluctant to take on youngstock at all whereas they used to come here and buy a couple,” she added.

As a commoner, Jenny Tillyer has grazing rights to run a number of mares on the forest. She described the lack of demand for her foals as “crazy”.

“I sold two foals in the November sales – one for £20 – so wasn’t prepared to put any forward this April, as I knew there wouldn’t be a market,” she said.

“I’m now faced with a massive overload of youngstock, but I’m not prepared to dump them.”

Miss Tillyer admitted she was “delighted” that none of her mares will have forest-bred foals this year.

“A commoner would normally be disgusted, but the fact is I can’t sell them,” she said.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (28 June 2012)