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‘I hope their dad lives on in them’: rider breeds ‘twin’ foals for her twin daughters

A rider who has bred two embryo transfer foals from her former top ride for her daughters is delighted to have bred “twin foals for my twin girls”.

Katherine James used frozen semen from Veni Vidi Vici, whom she had to sell five years ago when her personal circumstances changed, and eight-year-old Daisy and Isabelle’s 128cm mare Back in the Black. As “Vinney” was only 15.2hh, Katherine hopes she has bred two quality 148cm ponies for her daughters in future.

“The girls are very close to each other but also extremely competitive, particularly at sports!” Kath told H&H.

“Their favourite sport by far is showjumping; they only started riding two years ago on Harley, an 11hh section A. The showjumping bug hit them immediately as they watched me jump my horses at shows.”

The girls joined British Showjumping (BS) last January, and have since been selected for the Welsh team at the Home Pony International shows in Ireland and Scotland, and qualified for the Stepping Stones final at last year’s BS national championships, although Daisy was unable to jump as she broke her leg.

“The girls have been born with the same huge passion for horses as me,” Katherine said. “They are pony crazy and particularly showjumping crazy and the passion is definitely here to stay, so with a bit of forward thinking I decided it would be a good plan to try to breed two top 148 ponies for when they are 14 to 16 as top 148s are like gold dust and a fortune.

“The black mare has a fantastic textbook technique, is very sane and has plenty of jump.”

Katherine said she fell in love with Vinney when she saw him as a two-year-old in 2004, at a Brightwells auction.

“He was a phenomenal jumping and I gave him to the late Tim Stockdale to jump, taking over the reins myself when Vinney was six,” she said. “We got selected for the equine pathway, almost qualified for him for the newcomers final at the Horse of the Year Show. Even Nick Skelton approached me to buy him.”

Katherine said they used the services of Twemlows, which carried out the inseminations and provided the surrogate mares. The foals were born a month apart, on 6 May and 6 June.

“Issy kindly let Daisy have the first foal, which was decided before the birth, based on the fact Daisy was the first twin born by two minutes,” Katherine said. “Daisy’s baby is a lovely strong bay colt who she’s named Vinvictory; he is a cheeky funny character just like Daisy!

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“Issy’s is a stunning chestnut filly with the same white face and three white legs as her dad, and is called Vinabelle. The girls are besotted by their babies and are learning lots from the experience of motherhood.”

Katherine has herself got back into showjumping after a five-year break, and she said the whole family is looking forward to shows’ restarting.

“I’m delighted to have bred two beautiful ‘twin’ foals for my twin girls using our own pony mare and my own stallion. I loved him dearly and I was devastated to have to give him up,” she added.

“I didn’t want to sell him but now I’ve got him back, living in the foals for my daughters. Hopefully they will be exactly like their dad; I loved riding him and hope he lives on in them.”

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