A picture of ponies looking at their dead companion has been shared on social media in a bid to urge motorists to slow down.

The New Forest pony was killed by a car on 8 January.

Sarah Simmons took the photo as she passed the scene of the accident the following morning.

She posted it on Facebook, urging drivers to take more care on the roads, where the ponies roam freely.

“[It] broke my heart seeing another pony killed,” she said. “Even more that her friends were looking on.

“I hope by posting this it may make people realise that it’s not just the owner who it upsets but their herd members too.

“Slow down day and night on the forest roads. These poines have more rights to these roads than you do.”

Sarah added that drivers continued to speed past “even with this poor horse on the side of the road and the others looking on”.

The owner of the mare, Cathy Stride, told H&H she was a nine-year-old called Hazel Hill Scrap.

This was her third pony to be fatally injured on that stretch of road.

“They hit them like skittles,” she said.

“I welcome any publicity that helps drivers become aware; if they would just slow down it would help.

“They go too fast and don’t give the ponies enough room. We’ve even had people driving over foals’ feet as they lie beside the road.

“It’s also really important that people don’t feed the ponies, or they will congregate by the road waiting for the next handout.

“The photo was taken the morning after the accident and the herd had been waiting there all night.”

Cathy said Scrap’s mother (the grey) and half-sister were in the group.

“Her mother spent a day and a half looking over her,” she said.

“Sarah’s picture shows the animals do have feelings — that was something that came across to me very much.”

Cathy believes the number of accidents is affecting numbers of the breed, which is on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust’s “at risk” watch list.

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“They are all closely related,” she said. “Scrap was a breedable age; she would have taken over from her mother in looking after her half-sister and bring in the next generation of the herd.”

Cathy urged that anyone who hits a pony, or sees one being injured, should contact the Forestry Commission or New Forest agister.

Don’t miss this week’s Horse & Hound magazine, out Thursday (18 January), for in in-depth look at why New Forest pony numbers are dwindling and what is being done to protect this native breed