Pioneering science helping save rare breed horses on BBC One

  • The way new technology is helping save rare breeds of horses is set to feature on Countryfile.

    Presenter Adam Henson, who owns a Suffolk mare, visited Stallion AI Services in Shropshire to look at the pioneering science that is being used to help save endangered breeds, such as the Suffolk horse.

    “I feel very fortunate as this is now the third time they have been to see us now,” founder and managing director Tullis Matson told H&H.

    He added that the programme is watched by so many, which is a great way of highlighting the work going on with rare breeds and in this particular episode, Suffolk Horses.

    While Mr Matson could not give too many details away, the stallion centre and neighbouring Twemlows Stud Farm work at the cutting edge of breeding science.

    Twemlows is the “mares side” of the two businesses, while Stallion AI Services is home to both top sport horse sires and rare breed stallions while they carry out their breeding duties.

    Both businesses have been working with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in using specialist services to ensure the Suffolk — and other rare breeds — are protected and preserved.

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    There are under 500 Suffolk horses registered in the UK, including fewer than 73 breeding females and 34 listed and licensed stallions.

    This year there have been only 29 live foals and the breed is classed as “critical” on the RBST watchlist, which monitors the estimated number of breeding females producing pure-bred offspring in the UK.

    The programme, which is set to air on BBC One on 14 July, features stallion Thornfield Pendragon and mare Easton Ruby.

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday

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