The New Forest in southern England is an area of outstanding natural beauty covering 380 square kilometres of mixed heathland, pasture land and forest. It has been grazed by ponies since the Ice Age and residents have bred them as an income source. Now a recognised breed, the ponies are a great asset to the Forest, being both a major tourist attraction and a necessity for naturally cropping the undergrowth to encourage new growth and lessen the ever-present risk of fire.
Numbers of ponies have been dropping of late with many being sold at the regular auctions. In order to make it economic for commoners to keep the ponies grants from the European Commission have substantially improved the situation and numbers are again rising with the breed beginning to recover.
This has had a knock-on effect on the popular pony sales where numbers being auctioned have dropped by almost 50% leading to a possibility of this age-old tradition disappearing.
These images aim to capture the sales before yet another country lifestyle tradition dies out: they were taken on a Leica M7 using a 35mm Summarit-M f2.5 lens and Fuji NPN400CN film. Part of this project was used in a National Geographic article on National Parks.
The above image was published by National Geographic as part of an article on national parks