Over the Forest gate is a silent world of white. I move around the fields with my wheelbarrow of hay. Snowfall hides my footsteps before it is time to return home. Our local New Forest ponies have heard me through the hedge and are waiting for a scrap of hay to help them through a day of gorse and holly. There is no grass.
Snow swirls fast and fine across the fields.
Beechmast against a snowing sky.
Breakfast at last! The iron grey pony on the right will be three this spring. He was an orphan from 2007. We took him in when his mother was killed by a hit-and-run car driver on a nearby lane. The owner of his mother is an elderly commoner who was unable to rear the foal, so the Grey One came to us as a six week old as the Agister`s other choice was to shoot him. That summer we had three orphans to raise, but that is another story. Long days and nights of mixing foal milk in buckets and teaching these young ones that human touch is a kind thing to know.
An ancient oak in the old hedge boundary. Thick with ivy and holly, the birds will find night shelter here when darkness falls.
The oldest beech in the boundary hedge. Pollarded hundreds of years ago, its great side branches were iced with snow this morning.
A New Forest mare reaches for a feed of holly by the back gate.
Backs to the East wind, these two have lived through many winters in the hills and valleys around us.
This grey filly is half sister to our orphaned Grey One. They share the same sire who is a beautiful iron grey with a good temperament. He was a Forest stallion for several years but has now been gelded and has a new career as a riding pony .