Hoof-prints on the seashore at Whiteford

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Hoof prints on the strandline at Whiteford Sands in Gower

A Post from the Past [2009}

I found tracks for a whole herd of ponies on the beach at Whiteford Sands when I visited in February. Adults and tiny foals had been following the edge of the surf on the previous high tide when no-one was around. You can see the black drift lines deposited by successive waves as the tide went out. I wondered why the ponies had been there – there is nothing on which to feed. Perhaps they were taking a short cut; or taking advantage of the firm flat surface to take unhindered exercise.

Ponies on salt marsh at Whiteford in North Gower

There are around 300 Gower ponies wandering free. I first saw them a couple of summers ago when walking through Whiteford Burrows. They were grazing in small groups on the salt marshes and also on the short turf and botanically rich habitat of the stabilised dunes behind the beach.

Ponies on salt marsh at Whiteford in North Gower

 They were remarkably tame and mostly just ignored people. It was an uncanny and privileged experience at one point when we were completely surrounded by the herd that crossed our path. The small foals were delightful and mildly curious about us but the mares and stallion focused their attention on the rich grazing.

Ponies on salt marsh at Whiteford in North Gower

 © Jessica Winder and Jessica’s Nature Blog, 2009

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