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Mare beats the odds to give birth to second successive set of twins

The second successive set of twins born to the same mare at a sport horse stud are doing “amazingly well”, having defied huge odds to be born.

Twins in horses are rare, and not desirable as if carried to term, it is not likely that both will thrive. But, as was the case with Irish sport horse mare Destiny’s previous, identical, twins born in 2018, the mare was scanned by a vet and only one foetus was visible.

Owner Tania Mackee, of GFS Sporthorses, told H&H the buckskin colt and filly were born on 26 February.

“It’s a mystery how the twins were missed on the scan, both times,” she said.

“She was big but she always is; she carries them like she’s got a whole football team in there, but there was nothing exceptional about her.

“For the last three days, she was uncomfortable and I was a bit worried but when it came to it, she shot them both out. When I saw the first little hoof though, I thought ‘oh no; it can’t be’.

“We were horrified but there was no point where we thought either of them wouldn’t survive; they were on their feet and searching for the teat quickly.”

Tania said one of the first set of twins had a less sure start and needed treatment but both thrived and have gone to good homes, the initially weaker horse to a professional showjumper.

Tania said: “Twin foals are incredibly rare, I believe the figure 10,000 to one was the odds calculated for the birth of living equine twins. The first set were monozygotic [from the same egg, so identical] which was extraordinary, the second set cannot be as they are [one of each sex].

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“The fact that the same mare has produced another set of twins two years later following a year off is unbelievable and the odds probably like being struck by lightning twice!”

Tania added that this year’s foals are “doing very well and are huge characters with endless energy and a lot of fun”.

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