Bodies of New Forest ponies left by owners ‘to make motorists think’

One horse was killed in hit-and-run only days after foal died same way

Deceased New Forest ponies
Four New Forest ponies have been killed in hit-and-run incidents in the past 10 days Credit: Solent News & Photo Agency

A New Forest pony was killed by a hit-and-run driver just 48 hours after the mare was seen standing over its foal, which had died the same way. The two were killed along with another foal at the same spot.

Four New Forest ponies have now been killed in 10 days along a one-mile stretch of road, as campaigners have called for an end to the “soul-destroying” deaths.

Pictures show the deceased ponies left “to make people think” about driving safely and encourage the drivers responsible to come forward. 

New Forest Roads Awareness group has urged authorities to install average speed cameras in the area.

The spate of deaths began on Aug 25, when a mare was killed and her orphaned foal was left standing over her. 

The following week, a foal was hit and forced to be put down after suffering multiple broken legs. This foal’s mother, Jet, was then killed 48 hours later on Monday. 

After the owners made their signs for the ponies a man in his 30s has since reported himself to Hampshire police.

Gilly Jones, a campaigner for road and animal safety in the New Forest, said the first mare was hit despite wearing a reflective collar to alert drivers.

‘Drivers need to slow down’

Of Monday’s incident, she said: “Both ponies had to be destroyed as the foal had a broken back and the mare had two broken legs.

“Technically, he hit three ponies as he hit the mother of that foal too but she was okay.

“All these accidents happened after dark within a mile of each other. Drivers just need to slow down and pass with care.

“It is heart-breaking for the animals and also devastating for the commoners whose animals are involved.”

Ms Jones urged people to call in future incidents to allow New Forest Agisters to attend the scene and ensure the best chance of survival. 

The New Forest Agisters are responsible for overseeing the care of the free-roaming ponies, each with an allocated area of the national park. 

“Please report it when it happens,” she added.

“It’s as simple as a 999 call. We are begging people to call it in at the time.”

Ms Jones said she had been at the scene of all four pony deaths, adding: “For me, as a commoner, you know how much time and effort goes into raising one of these animals - we don’t breed them enough.

“And to see it lying like that is soul destroying.”

‘A conscious decision’

Ms Jones said that photographing Jet alongside her dead foal was “a conscious decision” to encourage the perpetrator to come forward. 

She said: “The owners left them for a little while as it was a clear hit-and-run because the gentleman hadn’t come forward. They left them there to make people think.”

However, the dead ponies were removed within an hour or so of when the man came forward.

Ms Jones pointed out that the “majority” of motorists were driving with care and it was a minority of careless drivers causing devastation.

She added: “For the thousands of people who drive across the New Forest in the four key roads, the majority of people really do drive with care. 

“You are never going to have zero animal accidents.”