The New Forest Pony is a recognised British Isles breed but has an unusual background for a native pony breed. The earliest record of horses in the New Forest dates back to 1016 when rights of common pasture were granted to the people living in what was a royal hunting ground. Since then, either as specific attempts to improve the breed or just as part of the normal life and trade in the New Forest, many outside breeds were introduced. Notable blood lines were Welsh, Thoroughbred, Arab and Hackney. Later, another concerted effort was made to improve the New Forest blood and other British Isles pony blood-lines were introduced to achieve this, including Fell Ponies, Dales, Highlands, Dartmoor and Exmoor.
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