A rescue mare has surprised her rescuers by giving birth to healthy twin foals.

Thoroughbred Donna was found abandoned in Cheshire last year and taken in by Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norwich.

She was in foal and to the sanctuary’s surprise, she gave birth to a colt and a filly on 7 April.

The pair, Tina and Tom, are “doing really well” and are enjoying time out in the field.

“When scanning our pregnant mares, our vet advised that one may be carrying twins, but it wasn’t Donna,” said a spokesman for Hillside Animal Sanctuary.

The first, smaller, foal was safely born while the mare needed help to deliver the second, larger baby.

The foals were safely delivered and were checked by a vet, as was their dam.

They started suckling within hours and were carefully monitored by the sanctuary.

“We are all keeping our fingers crossed that the newly born siblings continue to thrive which will mean three lives have been saved,” said the sanctuary spokesman.

“Our vet has told us how lucky they are as apparently there is a one in 10,000 chance of both twins surviving as well as Tina and Tom have done.”

Hillside Animal Sanctuary is home to 1,850 rescued horses, ponies and donkeys, as well many other rescued animals.

“As last year, this spring we have around 40 rescued mares, who came to us already pregnant, and are now waiting to give birth,” added the sanctuary spokesman.

“Staff watch over them day and night to assist if necessary and six foals have already been safely born at the sanctuary.”

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