The New Forest is a paradise for any horse and rider, offering some of the most unique riding experiences in the south of England. It is however this uniqueness that can take even the most experienced rider by surprise. The New Forest horse riding advice and information below will help you to enjoy your New Forest horse riding adventure, so you know what to expect in this unique area.
When horse riding in the New Forest you are bound to encounter some, if not all, types of livestock (cows, donkeys, pigs, ponies and sheep) that roam freely throughout the New Forest. Please be aware they are present and keep your distance, please do not touch or feed them.
From April until July New Forest Stallions are let out onto the forest to breed with the mares. The New Forest Stallions tend to be found with herds of mares. Please keep away from the stallions and in particular do not get amongst the mares when there is a stallion with them or between a stallion and his mares.
From August until November the New Forest Agisters and the Commoners round up the New Forest Ponies. This can be very dangerous and is NOT a public event. If you are planning to take your horse onto the forest during this time please contact the Verderers to check whether a drift is due to take place.
Please be aware The New Forest has a drag hunt which hunts across the whole of The New Forest. The New Forest Hounds meet on a Tuesday and a Saturday from November until the end of February. So please be aware of this if you are riding at this time.
The New Forest has hundreds of gates that you will have to open and close to gain access to different enclosures. Please make sure all gates are shut behind you to avoid any livestock escaping!
The Forestry Commission manage the landscape of the New Forest and have produced a code of conduct for riding. When riding please keep to the code to ensure the landscape remains a beautiful environment for everyone to enjoy. Please click to download the code of conduct for riding.
The Forestry Commission will be able to advise you of the best car parks to use and the best areas to avoid if there are any maintenance works due in certain enclosures. To contact the Forestry Commission please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have your own horse or pony there are no restrictions for riding across any New Forest District covered beaches (Barton on Sea, Calshot, Milford on Sea or Hordle Cliffs).
We have been advised by Christchurch Borough Council that you are also permitted to ride on Highcliffe and Mudeford beaches between September and Easter. You are not permitted to ride along the seashore between Easter Saturday and 30 September (inclusive) between 10am and 9pm.