The Verderers in charge of conservation and protection of ponies in the New Forest have banned the general public from this year’s “drifts” or round-ups, as they are becoming too popular.

The picturesque spectacle of owners and officials on horseback has become a popular event, with the dates, from August to November, published on a website.

But this year the dates have been removed amid fears onlookers are causing disruption.

A spokesman for the Verderers said: “The drifts are not a spectator sport and we have no option but to strongly discourage the public from attending.”

www.newforestpony.com/forestbred.html

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (25 October, ’07)