What a week it’s been and now it’s nearly over with another busy weekend ahead. This week though started in a different way to my usual timetable. No client meetings in the diary (a deliberate decision, even if a little cheeky), I set off for the New Forest to go in search of this year’s stallions and inevitably a new crop of foals.
I wasn’t disappointed.
A group of 15 stallions are released on to the Forest at the beginning of May for a couple of months. Each has a specific location and while we didn’t come across many, it was such a lovely day in great company.
I’d arranged to meet fellow equine, but unrelated, photographers Kate Owen (Pony & Pup Photography) and Claire Owen (Equipassion by Attic Photographic) at Balmer Lawn to find the handsome grey stallion Woodfidley Top Gun. Luckily he stood out among his hareem of predominantly bay and chestnut mares, many of which had very young foals at foot. We could have been at this one spot all day, such was the choice of delicious new borns, some super bold and happy to have us invade their space, others less so – but they were all amazingly photogenic regardless of whether they were on their feet or snoozing.
From Balmer Lawn we wended our way to Hill Top, but were disappointed not to find a stallion there. However, we did come across the cheekiest foal of the day. Initially he was stood quietly with mum, but so bold. He was happy to come up close and say hello. Not satisfied with showing us his paces, he was off to chat up the other mares in the group. As the only foal in the vicinity, he could have belonged to any mare there as he clearly had a rapport with most of them. Eventually, he returned to mum and with a flick of his little tail, we wandered off again!
Out next stopping point was East Boldre and rather than stallions and foals, we were treated to Donkey mares and foals. Unlike the native ponies, these little four legged friends were just that. So tame, even the youngsters were happy to come up close and enjoy a stroke, ear scratch and a whole lot of human love. One was even waiting in the bus stop, enjoying the shade on a warm day.
Our final destination was a pit stop on Beaulieu High Street for a little sustenance. It’s such a beautiful part of the world that we opted to go for a little wander around and came across another small group of mares, a couple of which had foals with them. Our concern was that they were so close to the road, but the traffic was very understanding. More importantly, one little chap decided Claire was his new best friend, and ended the day sucking her thumb!
What a day. I had a fabulous time, finishing off with a long overdue visit to Beaulieu Abbey as that is where my grandmother is buried and I’d not visited for 20 years.