Anyone who wants to turn out ponies on the Forest has to have a brand mark approved by the Verderers. A brand has to be a simple and clear design that’s easy to tell apart from all the other brands. It also needs to be easy to describe, so that people can explain what to look for if a pony is missing or injured.
Foals get branded once they’re about three months old- if they’re branded younger the mark will grow with them and end-up looking too big.
If a pony gets sold the new owner has to add their brand behind the original one. Some ponies can get several brands that way.
Jim Winter has been a commoner all his life. He explains all about brands and branding.