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Suffolk Punch enjoy baby boom

The Colony Suffolk Punch Stud is looking forward to seven new arrivals this spring

The endangered British draught horse, the Suffolk Punch, is set to enjoy a welcome boost with seven mares at the Colony Stud at Hollesley Bay Penal Centre, Suffolk, due to foal this spring.

Only two of the five foals born at the stud last year survived due to complications and a twin pregnancy, but the stud is hoping for a better success rate this year.

The baby boom is a major achievement for the stud, which was threatened last year when the Home Office, which has responsibility for prison farms, announced that it was considering closing its heavy horse breeding operation.

“The future of the stud at Hollesley Bay is still in the balance pending a national review of prison farms and gardens by the Home Office,” said media liaison office, Celia Leggett.

“However, the stud has been the responsibility of the prison service since 1938, and it will endeavour to keep the breeding unit together and local to Hollesley, should it be leave the prison’s control.”

Negotiations are ongoing with an anonymous benefactor who may step in if the herd is forced to move.

Last year, the Suffolk Horse Society announced that the breed was more rare than the Giant Panda, with less than 200 left in the world. A total of 30 live foals were born in 2001, and the society has worked hard to attract new owners to the breed, a useful all-round working or draught horse.

Click here to read our original story about the Colony Suffolk Punch Stud beingunder threat.

  • Read more in this week’s Horse & Hound (10 January 2002), or click here to subscribe.
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