A NEW Forest pony was found choking after a member of the public left chunks of carrot by the side of the road.

Now the Commoners Defence Association has warned well-meaning members of the public not to take food into the forest for the ponies.

They said such actions change the natural behaviour of the animals and also attract them to the roads.

And they said there is plenty of natural food for them to eat.

In a post on Facebook, they said the pony was found choking by the roadside and added: "Do not approach, feed or pet free roaming livestock. If approached, walk away.

"Feeding can cause choke which if left untreated can cause death. It changes the ponies' natural behaviour and livestock can become drawn to roadsides for food which can prove fatal.

"Feeding can cause colic (tummy ache) which can be fatal. The ponies have plenty of natural food - they browse and graze all day - they are specially adapted for life out in the New Forest."

There are also fears that most people leave food near to roads, increasing the risk of collisions with traffic.

Anyone who finds a sick, injured or distressed pony, cow, donkey, pig or sheep (not involved in a road traffic accident) should call the Verderers’ Office on 023 8028 2052 (Monday-Friday, 9am – 5pm) or Forestry England on 0300 067 4600 (24 hours).

All the animals belong to and are cared for by local people known as commoners. Verderers employ agisters to oversee the welfare of the animals and each covers a part of the open forest.

The Agister and the owner were called and are both monitoring the pony to ensure its recovery.