The idyllic shot of the New Forest. Ponies in the evening stopping for a drink before heading off to the shade of the trees for the night. Ponies have grazed in the area of the New Forest for many thousands of years, predating the last Ice Age. The New Forest pony that we see today is one of the recognised mountain and moorland or native pony breeds of the British Isles. Their height varies from around 12 to 14.2 hands (48 to 58 inches, 122 to 147 cm). The ponies of all heights should be strong, workmanlike, and of a good riding type. They are valued for hardiness, strength, and sure-footedness an in the past, smaller ponies were used as pit ponies. In the summer, the ponies will eat rich grasses, creating the close cropped (short) lawns of the New Forest which are important for rare flowers and insect species. In the winter their diet is more varied. Green plants such as holly and gorse are incredibly nutritious for them.