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Rare breed foal lifts spirits during ‘dark days’

The birth of a “special” rare breed foal has helped lift spirits during “dark days”.

Pauline and Clive Wainwright welcomed Suffolk colt Coppermantle Big Stig from their five-year-old mare Horkesley Park Faith on 8 March.

Pauline told H&H Stig, who is the first Suffolk foal to be born in the UK this year, was bred in memory of the couple’s daughter, Emma, who died of cancer aged 27 in 2006.

“Emma was doing a PhD at the University of Cambridge studying molecular genetics in lowland mountain gorillas,” she said.

“Obviously we’ll never be able to put a gorilla back on the planet, but it is wonderful to have bred a Suffolk foal – Emma would be really proud.”

Suffolk Horse Society

Pauline, who began riding aged 53, said she and her husband fell in love with Suffolks a few years ago when visiting the Suffolk Punch Trust.

“My husband isn’t horsey at all, but we decided to do some heavy horse courses with the breeder Nigel Oakley at Rede Hall Farm,” she said. While we were there we fell in love with a filly called Faith who was a livery, but she wasn’t for sale at the time.

“We became smitten with the breed and started going to shows where there would be Suffolks. In July 2016 Nigel approached us and told us Faith was for sale – we couldn’t resist and within the week she was ours.”

Pauline said Nigel suggested they put Faith in foal and they had her covered by Springtime Earl, owned by Keith Cracknell

“Faith is liveried at Nigel’s and he has been a big part of this. Faith is an absolute treasure, she is the most easy-going, affectionate mare,” she said.

“We named the foal Stig after a Hungarian Vizsla we bought when Emma was ill. We lost him three years ago, he was a real character and Stig is already proving to be the same sort of character – it’s like he’s been here before. He is so charismatic and special. It’s such dark days at the moment we need anything that can lift our spirits, and he certainly does that.”

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Pauline said she and Clive are still deciding on Stig’s future plans but said helping the breed means a lot to them.

“Had we had a filly we were going to call her Emma and would have kept her to breed, but as we’ve been thrown the challenge of a colt it’s going to depend what his confirmation is like as he gets older whether we keep him as a stallion – we will wait and see.

“He is a living memorial to Emma and at the same time we’re doing our little bit for the conservation of a critically endangered species. We really want to help this breed, we can’t lose these horses.”

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