Neigh bothered! New Forest pony stands its ground and refuses to move as it is narrowly missed by Royal Mail driver
- A Royal Mail van swerved past a pony as it overtook a car on a New Forest road
- The animal, standing in the road near Minstead in Hampshire, remained static
- Locals have spoken out to protect the animals that are allowed to roam freely
A Royal Mail driver has been caught on camera overtaking a car and then dangerously swerving around a New Forest pony while the animal looks unbothered and stays completely still.
Dash cam footage captured the moment the red van overtook the car – which had slowed down to give the animal space – before narrowly missing the pony on a quiet New Forest road.
The incident, which has enraged locals, happened in a 30mph zone near the quaint New Forest village of Minstead, Hampshire, and is now under investigation.
Ponies and other livestock roam free in parts of the national park with motorists advised to pass animals ‘wide and slow’ and be prepared to stop but every year ponies are killed by vehicles.
Livestock is released onto the open New Forest heathland by forest ‘commoners’ – local residents who hold the right to graze their animals on the land.
Royal Mail says it has now opened an investigation into the incident.
The footage was captured by a member of New Forest Commoners Defence Association, a group which seeks to protect the historic rights to graze animals in the woodlands and heathlands of the area.
The ‘stunned’ group member – who wished to remain anonymous – said: ‘The Post Office van was parked in the village on the right [when I passed it].
A Royal Mail van pulled out to overtake a car on a quiet New Forest road in a 30mph zone
The van swerved past and narrowly missed a New Forest pony that was stood in the middle of the road
As the van continued driving, the pony stood its ground in the road, looking completely unbothered
‘I was driving at 30mph until I saw the animals in the road and slowed down to allow the oncoming car to pass wide and then myself to pass the pig on the left slowly.
‘I then crawled towards the pony in the road at around 10mph.
‘I had yet to stop when I noticed in my mirror the van coming up behind me and, as far as I could see, without indicating, overtake me.
‘The pony was clearly visible to me and would have been to the driver of the van.
‘I was so shocked by the driving, especially from a marked van where the driver can be held accountable.
‘The overtake, even without the pony, was dangerous enough, but to see a van swerve around this animal and onto the verge stunned me.’
Reacting to the video, one angry social media user said: ‘Something needs to be done as some drivers of cars and lorries just don’t care about the ponies or respect the fact they are driving in the Forest.’
‘Anyone who said this driving by Royal Mail employee is fine, is unfit for the road,’ added another.
Sue Westwood, Clerk to the Verderers, an elected group responsible for the protection and conservation of The Forest, said: ‘The post van driver needs to drive with care and consideration in future.’
The New Forest Pony is a British Isles breed and makes up a crucial part of the New Forest ecosystem
Fatal road traffic accidents involving livestock and wildlife were at record-breaking lows in the New Forest at the start of this year
Ponies and other livestock roam free in parts of the national park. Pictured are pigs who have been let loose in the ancient New Forest for the pannage season
In a statement, the New Forest Commoners Defence Association said: ‘The winter months have historically been the worst for livestock and wildlife fatalities.
‘Following a record breaking 15 weeks in early 2022 without a fatal road traffic accident, group members would like to ask the public for their cooperation and support in keeping these numbers down.’
A spokesperson for Royal Mail said: ‘We were very disappointed to view this video, and are investigating what happened.
‘Once our investigation has concluded, we will be taking appropriate action internally.
‘It is not clear from the video how close to the horse our vehicle was, and we are pleased that this animal was not harmed or disturbed in any way.
‘The safety of our drivers and other road users is a high priority for Royal Mail, and this includes our responsibilities under the New Forest code.
‘We regularly instruct our drivers that animals in the New Forest are free to roam and have right of way, and we will be reinforcing that message to colleagues locally now.’