Shire foal named by The Queen welcomes her first visitors

  • A Shire foal who was named by The Queen has welcomed her first visitors at a Welsh tourist attraction.

    Dyfed Guinevere, who was born at Dyfed Shire Horse farm on The Queen’s official birthday, April 21, was finally able to greet the public when lockdown restrictions were eased.

    Owner Huw Murphy approached Buckingham Palace to offer Her Majesty the chance to name the foal as it he felt it might appeal to her interest in horses, and received a “very nice” letter in return accepting the request.

    The working farm, in Pembrokeshire’s coastal national park, already has links to the royals, having received both Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall as visitors —  the duchess also named a foal, Dyfed Merlin, in 2018. Huw has also sold two Shires to the Household Cavalry as drum horses in recent years.

    The farm, which has been in the same family for eight generations, reopened on 21 July with Covid measures in place and has seen a steady footfall since.

    “Our visitor numbers are a bit lower, which is understandable, but we’re holding our own and people do seem to love seeing the foals. They are very much a focal point for a lot of people,” Huw told H&H.

    Guinevere is the first foal out of her dam, homebred 12-year-old Dyfed Santorini, who has only one functioning ovary.

    “We had expensive efforts to get her in foal as she has a weak ovary and tends to either not take or re-absorb,” Huw said. “We had to send her to specialists.”

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    Santorini is also sister to Dyfed Grey Celt (now known as “Mercury”), who was sold to the Household Cavalry in 2008. Ed, originally bought as a foal at auction for £500, was also sold to the regiment last year.

    As well as adding Guinevere to his herd, Huw has also bought a colt foal from Shire Horse Society secretary Victoria Clayton this year, while two donkey foals have also been born at the farm.

    “There really is something quite nice about having Shire foals. Their numbers aren’t really increasing — they are on the rare breeds watchlist, which is one of the reasons I have them,” Hugh added. “It is nice for people to be able to watch these two playing together.”

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