COMMONERS are taking their ponies out of the New Forest because of the number of crashes claiming their animals’ lives, the Daily Echo can reveal.

Campaigners fighting for speed restrictions on the B3078 from Godshill to Cadnam have said people are fed up with the number of collisions and are being forced to keep their ponies out of harm’s reach.

The New Forest Roads Campaign is calling for speed restrictions after the road saw four ponies killed in just eight days.

Nearly 3,000 people have signed their online petition which aims to lobby higher authorities for permanent speed measures.

Owner Kay Harrison lost a mare that was killed in a collision with a car. The same incident saw her foal put down after it suffered a broken leg. Five days later another of Ms Harrison’s animals were killed. And on Tuesday, a third crash saw a pony suffer two broken legs and subsequently shot by one of the agisters.

Campaigner Gilly Jones said: “Commoners are taking their ponies out of the Forest. I know people who have said ‘I can’t do this anymore’ and won’t let ponies anywhere near the roads. It’s really sad. We need to get people to realise that ponies and cars don’t mix.”

Another campaigner, who asked not to be named, said: “We want the higher authorities to understand we are trying to educate people and get the word out there that you have to slow down and drive to the conditions of the road.

“We just want something, any form of response, from them and try and get something moving. Otherwise we’re going to lose the way of the Forest. People won’t want to put their animals out and we don’t want that.”

Campaigners said as well as discussing possible speed restricting measures - including speed traps and average speed cameras - they have been working with Brockenhurst College students to try and educate young drivers about the impact of crashes on the road.

Ms Jones said: “To get the speed limit reduced is a much more long term view but we need to find something to make people aware that there are ponies on the road.”

A campaigner added: “Leaflets could be dropped into households telling people to go slow and tell people how horses behave. This sort of thing needs to be addressed and raised.”

The B3078, the B3054 and the B3055 account for a significant number of animal-related crashes across the Forest.