A Shire mare has stepped into the breach to foster a purebred Lusitano colt foal, orphaned shortly after birth.

Generoso, bred by Roger Barnett and Sherene Rahmatallah of Sussex Lusitanos, was born on 2 March in Loxwood, West Sussex.

But his dam Jaca died suddenly 12 hours after his birth, of a suspected ruptured artery.

Roger contacted Johanna Vardon of The National Foaling Bank who found a foster dam — a six-year-old Shire mare called Barley Mimms Lady Sarah.

Owned and bred by John Perkins of Manchester, Lady Sarah had given birth to a shire foal that died within hours of Jaca dying so she was an ideal match for Generoso.

Debbie Dunger, who runs DD Horse Transport at Pulborough, was called in to help and drove through the night to collect Lady and bring her to Sussex.

And within 24 hours, with the help of vets, Lady Sarah and Generoso were carefully introduced to one another.

This was initially done in-hand and with 24-hour surveillance. Within days, the mare and foal had naturally bonded and Lady Sarah had accepted Generoso as her foal.

“Before they bonded we were really concerned that she would accidentally step on the foal and kill him, the size of her hooves is amazing, but she is a lovely mare and they are very happy now,” said Mrs Rahmatallah.

“As a thank you to Mr Perkins we will send Lady Sarah back to him in foal to our stallion, Numerario. He has become very interested in the breed,” she added.

Pictures by www.horsedreamsart.co.uk