The bloodlines scheme supports commoning by improving the breeding of New Forest ponies through enhancing the bloodlines and widening the gene pool which, because of the stallion scheme, has become worryingly restricted.
The project is intended to run over a number of years and to produce future stallions with desired bloodlines to broaden the gene pool for New Forest ponies and avoid ‘in-breeding’.
In 2011, 14 mares with suitable breeding were selected and mated with selected stallions with the desired bloodlines. Out of these 14 mares, 5 colt foals were produced. The colt foals were inspected at two years old during the Pony Breeders stallion passing day, of which 4 out of the 5 were approved as suitable stallions for the New Forest breed.
In 2014, the (pure bred) New Forest Pony was added to the Rare Breed Survival Trust’s Watch List as a Category 5 minority breed. In 2014, 12 mares were selected and mated with suitable stallions, they produced five colt foals. Three of these colts were successful to go forward to the Futurity scheme.
In 2021, 20 stallions were released onto the Forest, eight of which came through the bloodlines scheme.
The scheme leases 15 acres from Forestry England to provide year-round grazing.
In this video, agister Robert Maton talks about how the HLS scheme is preserving important New Forest Pony bloodlines: