Rare Suffolk mare in foal thanks to innovative ‘sexed semen’ technology

A rare Suffolk mare who featured on BBC’s Countryfile has been scanned in foal from sexed semen, thanks to innovative technology.

The 14-day scan confirmed Euston Ruby is pregnant, as a result of insemination using equine breeding technology at Stallion AI Services.

It was a second attempt to use the technology to inseminate the five-year-old mare after the first proved unsuccessful, as shown on the episode of Countryfile aired on 14 July.

In a first for rare breeds, “female” sperm cells were selected, giving a 96% chance of a filly foal, as mares are so important for the breed’s future survival.

“Stallion AI Services, Cogent Breeding Ltd, Twemlows Stud Farm, the Suffolk Horse Society and Nottingham Trent University have been working together to protect the critically endangered Suffolk breed and are thrilled to announce the pregnancy,” a spokesman for Stallion AI Services said.

There are fewer than 500 Suffolks registered in the UK, with some 70 breeding mares and about 30 listed and licensed stallions. There were 29 live foals born this year.

“What this technology can do for all rare breeds is outstanding,” said Stallion Ai Services’ managing director Tullis Matson. “Hopefully this may be a way to stop these breeds from disappearing.”

Owing to the limited number of breeding animals, Stallion AI Services and Twemlows Stud Farm have been working with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust using specialist services to protect and preserve the breed.

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