‘More chance of winning the Lottery’: sport horse foal born without a tail

  • The breeders of a foal born without a tail believe the chance of her birth in that condition was less than winning the Lottery.

    Filly Sorrento, by Billy Be Cool, was born completely tail-less four weeks ago at Hill Valley Stud, Lincs. Owner Darren Hardy told H&H she has been thoroughly examined by vets, and she is doing well.

    “We’ve been researching and have only found two other horses in the whole world born without tails,” he said. “It’s a bit more common in donkeys — which is apparently where ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ comes from — but our vets, Holly Grantham and Sarah Mason from Tower Equine in Bourne, have spoken to other specialists including Richard Payne from Rossdales, and it seems no one has come across this before; you’ve probably got more chance of winning the Lottery.”

    Sorrento has been X-rayed and there has been no indication she will have any issues resulting from her tail-free state.

    “In herself, she’s absolutely fine; she runs round bucking like any foal,” Darren said.

    “After her pelvis, she’s got a few vertebrae but then they just stop. My wife’s a midwife and if children have a hole in the spine, it’s a problem but hers is all closed up.

    “I’ve known horses who have had their tails amputated after injury and they cope fine, and she seems fine too. She’s from popular showjumping/eventing lines; it can’t be hereditary as there would be more around.”

    Darren said Sorrento was born three weeks late, and the mare needed some help with the delivery.

    “She was knackered, and I was a bit too,” he said. “I wondered if it was a filly or colt, and thought ‘I’ll look in a minute’. I thought it was a filly, then thought ‘How can I see that?’ and then I realised.”

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    Darren normally breeds to sell but he intends to keep Sorrento, and keep an eye on how she deals with issues such as flies.

    “I can’t say she’s going to be a top eventer or showjumper as we don’t know,” he said. “Of the two we found, one’s a racing mare who did win some races, but I’d sooner keep her here, where I know what’s going on.

    “She’s a fantastic foal, full of character, and everything’s normal. The mare’s grey and a typical grey, who backs up to the wall, poos and it always goes in her tail; at least we won’t have that with the foal!”

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