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The New Forest Pony is one of the recognised mountain and moorland or native pony breeds of the British Isles. Height varies from around 12 hands (48 inches, 122 cm) to 14.2 hands (58 inches, 147 cm); all heights should be strong, workmanlike, and of a good riding type. They are valued for hardiness, strength, and surefootedness.
The breed is indigenous to the New Forest in Hampshire in southern England, where equines have lived since before the last Ice Age; remains dating back to 500,000 BC have been found within 50 miles (80 km) from the heart of the modern New Forest. Many breeds have contributed to the foundation bloodstock of the New Forest pony, but today only ponies whose parents are both registered as purebred in the approved section of the stud book can be registered as purebred. The New Forest pony can be ridden by children and adults and can be driven in harness.
Ponies grazing on the New Forest are owned by New Forest commoners – people who have "rights of common of pasture" over the Forest lands; an annual marking fee is paid for each animal turned out to graze. The population of ponies on the Forest has fluctuated in response to demand for youngstock. Numbers fell to fewer than 600 in 1945 but have since risen steadily, and thousands now run loose in semi-feral conditions.