New Forest ponies in winterAbout 8,000 animals are let-out  onto the open forest every year- most are ponies, but there are cows, pigs, sheep and donkeys too.

The commoners have to pay an annual ‘marking fee’ for each of the animals they let out.

The fees are collected by ‘agisters’, who are the officials who look after the welfare of the commoners’ animals out on the Forest

Honeymoon Troubles

One of the sad parts of an agister’s job is to shoot animals that are badly hurt in motoring accidents. About two animals are killed every week on the Forest roads. Raymond Stickland, now a retired agister, remembers a particular accident with a honeymoon couple that caused him special problems.