For the majority of the year, the New Forest is a female forest as far as the iconic ponies are concerned as it is only the mares (females) that are allowed to roam freely. Young colts (males) are removed as they reach maturity and mature stallions are only allowed on the Forest for a short period each spring. This ensures that the mares give birth to foals in early spring each year, when food is more plentiful, after an eleven month gestation period.
In recent years the demand for foals and the prices they command have dropped significantly. As a consequence, the number of stallions released onto the Forest has been strictly regulated to ensure that there is not a surplus of unwanted foals. For the past few years the number of specially selected stallions has been limited to just 10 and this is the case once again in 2015.
These stallions were turned out onto the Forest for a period of four weeks from Monday 11 May and will remain out until Monday 8th June. They are each allocated to a specific area of the New Forest.