A reward of up to £1,000 is being offered to help track down a hit-and-run driver who left a pony with two broken legs.
Brock Brocade, a 21-year-old New Forest pony, was hit by a vehicle overnight on 27-28 October.
The driver did not report the accident and the mare, who broke both her back legs, was found in the morning on Burley Road in Brockenhurst by a passing commoner.
She immediately contacted the relevant agister, who monitors livestock in the forest, and the pony was put down.
Born and bred on the common, “Mary” was owned by James Young and his wife Trudy Nineham.
She lived at their yard in Brockenhurst for most of her life, enjoying a successful career in the show ring and as a broodmare.
She won New Forest championship titles at the New Forest & Hampshire County show, the New Forest breed show and New Forest enthusiasts’ elite show.
Last summer the pair decided that as Mary was a good doer and they were no longer breeding from her, they would see if she would take to living back on the common. She had stayed happily with her herd ever since.
“We are long-standing commoners and the worst thing about the common is you have to accept that road accidents happen, but to drive off and leave the animal in agony is unforgivable,” Mr Young told H&H.
“One doesn’t want to lose any pony, but she was particularly special.
“She was a great character — she never really escaped from her feral roots!
“Until her last day, I think she had a better quality of life out there than she would have done in [a starvation paddock].”
The lack of vehicle debris at the scene has led the verderers to believe it was likely she was hit by a large vehicle, such as a lorry.
Mr Young added that although trying to find the driver will not help Mary, he hopes it will raise awareness and encourage people to be more careful when driving through the New Forest.
A statement on the New Forest Verderers website said its hit and run reward scheme will pay up to £1,000 for information leading to the successful conviction of the driver.
“We would very much like to trace the driver responsible for this callous act,” added the statement. “There is no excuse for leaving an animal to suffer in the way this pony did.”
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A spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary told H&H police were called at 7.40am on 28 October.
“We are investigating,” he added.
Call the verderers’ office on 023 8028 2052 or police on 101, quoting incident reference 44160408244, with information.