Taming and breaking in New Forest Pony. Advice Please!


New User
31 December 2013
I have just taken on two New Forest Ponies, mother and daughter. The farmer has told me that the daughter is 3yrs and the mum is 12yrs and they have been living out in the field their whole lives. The mum apparently used to be ridden by children.

At the moment, they are in a field with some cows. I ideally want to get them used to humans, move them out of the field and into a smaller field/standing paddock whilst I get them into better condition. They need a good groom, de worming, dentist, farrier etc.

I'm currently going into their field 2/3 times a day to get them used to me and build up a bond. The foal is really curious and cheeky. It's only been a week and she's already letting me scratch her all over, pick up her front feet and let me groom her with brushes. She's touchy around her ears, but I'm trying not to push her too fast. Great considering she hadn't even been touched by anyone before and the farmers couldn't get close to her. She follows me around the field and has let my friend stroke her too! :)

The mum isn't as keen. She'll eat carrots out of my hand but other than that she doesn't want to know. She will try and nip if I try and stroke her. She is quite skinny so I have a feeling she probably has worms.

I would like to break the 3 year old pony in. This isn't something I have done before. What is the best stages of breaking in a pony? How should I progress in terms of taming her? I was planning on trying to get a head collar on her next, just to get her used to that! Would it be too soon for me to do this?

Also, do you think that once I have tamed the 3 year old, the mum may become a bit more interested once she see's I'm not a big scary monster!!

I'm just looking for some general tips and advice! :)

Thanks x
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Well-Known Member
15 April 2014
advise you get some knowledgable help locally , have someone on the ground, ideally an RI :) Are you in a local riding club / pony club? Far to much knowledge/experience lacking for you be picking up tips online, good luck with them though.

(just because they have lived in a field on a farm doesn’t make them ‘rescues’, sorry I do feel the term is bandied about too regularly.)


Well-Known Member
1 August 2006
Food is your friend.
As soon as you can, try to get a headcollar on both mum and daughter. Once its on, lead them over to food - something they can't get for themselves. Repeat twice, and the third time they'll probably do the buckle up themselves. They will then be able to start going for short walks in hand, which they'll find interesting.
Once they associate you with food and fun, they'll start looking forward to your visits, and accept strange things as the part of a more interesting life.

Very best of luck. It's great fun, and NF's are very sweet and easy-going.


Well-Known Member
11 June 2010
It will be a very slow process unless you can corral them somewhere that you can handle them properly. If not, once you get to the stage that you can put a headcollar on, leave the headcollar on with a short piece of rope so that they will be easier to catch.

With regards to the breaking in, if you haven't done it before you are going to need to find someone to help you. My advice would be to buy a good book on the subject and then find an experienced person to help you through the stages.

Good luck.


Well-Known Member
22 July 2010
Buy Sarah Weston's book No Fear No Force. She is an expert on unhandled NFs and those with limited handling. If you can, google her and contact her for advice. If she is too far from you to help in person she can probably recommend someone local to you who could advise.