Staff at a country house and rare breed farm said they “haven’t stopped smiling” since the recent birth of their first Shire foal.
The colt was born at 4.42am on 5 May at Sledmere House in North Humberside, East Yorkshire. He has been named Sledmere Masterman after the 3rd Baronet of Sledmere House, Sir Mark Masterman Sykes.
Farm park manager Laura Clark told H&H the birth was very straightforward for nine-year-old Shire mare Julie.
“It was Julie’s second foal. I live in the village and was on call that evening popping up every hour. When I went to check on Julie at 3am I knew it wasn’t going to be long,” said Laura.
“We had to help the foal stand and drink on the first day. Even for a Shire he is very tall so we had to bear with him and give him a bit more time to find his feet – he was very wobbly.
“We’ve not decided his stable name yet and have invited people to send us suggestions on Facebook. We will pick a name early next week.”
Laura said 18hh Julie, owned by Sir Tatton Sykes of Sledmere House, is “absolutely perfect” as a mum.
“She’s quite protective, but she isn’t silly,” said Laura. “She is really good with me and the team, Charlotte Walker and Ellie Harrison. Charlotte was there at the birth and Ellie held the fort the next day so we could get some rest.
“Julie and the foal are in the stable at night and we managed to get them outside for them to stretch their legs when the weather was nicer on Thursday (9 May).”
Julie was a new addition to Sledmere House at the end of February.
“We bought her in foal from Mark Richardson and she settled in really well – she’s brilliant with people and very friendly. We have a rare breed farm and had always wanted a foal but we drive our other mares, Amy and Poppy, and it didn’t make sense to bring them out of work to have a foal. Amy and Poppy are here for the public and we drive them around the grounds and take them showing,” said Laura.
“At the moment Julie and the colt are separate from Amy and Poppy as when Julie arrived we didn’t want to risk her getting kicked, but they will eventually all go out together. When the foal is weaned we plan to break Julie to drive and hopefully the foal will stay at Sledmere and join the driving team in the future as well.”
‘My daughters are going to do young handler classes with him. They’re really small but he’s very gentle and loves
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Julie and her colt are proving popular with visitors.
“We can’t believe the reaction we’ve had when we put them on our social media. People can’t wait to meet him. The weather hasn’t been great, but we’ve still had people visiting which is really nice,” said Laura.
“The foal’s personality is starting to come out and he is very cheeky. Because we had to help him on the first day, he is very people orientated. I don’t think we’ve stopped smiling since he arrived – with Shires being so rare it’s an amazing opportunity for us to have him.”
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