Old Yanks in the New Forest: ponies | jenniferstevenson.com

Old Yanks in the New Forest: ponies

So my husband and I went to London for the World Science Fiction Convention, and afterward visited the New Forest, which is situated in the southwest corner of England, right up against Wales. I’d been wanting to see the New Forest for a long time. My fascination with big trees had me picturing all sorts of wilderness things. Some British form of Sasquatch. At least some wild horses.

It did look as though there would be wild horses. Websites describing the New Forest warn tourists not to run into the “New Forest ponies” on the road. The ponies have right of way. They may approach you, but don’t feed them or try to ride them. Tantalizing hints for the horse-crazy kid in my heart.

a shaggy wild horse

a shaggy wild horse

a shaggy wild horse

What I expected: this.

We saw wild horses like this in the desert outside Las Vegas some twelve years ago. Shaggy, dirty, flea-bitten, unfriendly, unkempt, with distinctly plebian features and points, and big gobs of their winter coats falling away in unsightly rags.

Wild horses in the Nevada desert have been having a tough time lately. Locals and government bodies want to get rid of them. Horse fans want to save them. While I’m all for saving horses, no one can call them pretty.

But what we found in the New Forest: this.

glossy homeboys

glossy homeboys

glossy homeboys

Apparently the locals who have farms edging upon or embedded within the forest turn their horses loose to graze all day. We parked our rented bikes at an entrance to a wide, grassy track and walked a mile or two into the woods. Within a hundred yards we met these guys.

As advertised, they were curious about us but not particularly friendly. Nor did they mug us for our lunch, which surprised me but did not disappoint me. The local apples and Stilton made up the best meal I ate in England for the whole visit.

Continued on next rock…

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