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BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833)
Pic: PhilYeomans/BNPS<br />
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Skywalker (headband) at 17 the oldest stallion on the forest, lays down the law to some younger ponies.<br />
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Fighting fit - The New Forest Verderers have chosen 15 lucky stallions to be released on to the historic forest this year.<br />
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The stallion release scheme was introduced in 2010 in a bid to drastically improve the quality of the ancient breed by reducing the number of stallions to only the most impressive.<br />
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The forest Commoners can put 30 male ponies up for inspection by the Verderers each year, who then select the best 15 to roam the ancient forest, founded by William the Conqueror as a royal hunting ground over 950 years ago.<br />
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Head Agister Johnathan Gerrelli says 'the scheme has vastly improved the quality of the 5,500 ponies roaming the 90,000 acres of forest'.