Suffolk stallion in global bid to preserve the endangered breed

  • Efforts to save the Suffolk horse from extinction have taken an international turn as genetics from a popular rare breed stallion are sent in New Zealand.

    Frozen semen from Suffolk stallion Craikhow Hall Jensen is in the process of being imported to New Zealand.
    Breeding specialists EquiBreed NZ revealed the news yesterday (10 August).

    “We are thrilled to announced this semen is also for sale and should be with us early in the breeding season,” a company spokesman said on social media.

    “As well as boosting the [Suffolk horse] gene pool in NZ, we think he would make a fabulous cross with other heavy horse breeds, or over thoroughbreds etc perhaps to breed hunting types.”

    The spokesman added that the company has been working with “a dedicated group of rare breed enthusiasts”, including the Suffolk Horse Society, Stallion AI Services, the Thorpley Irish Draught and Rare Breed Stud and the Clydesdale Horse Society of New Zealand.

    Craikhow Hall Jensen, owned by Bruce Langley McKim, hit the headlines on his hunting debut with the Fernie last winter.

    The nine-year-old chestnut has also been helping to preserve the breed in the UK — as well as standing at Thorpeley Stud, he has also spent time at Stallion AI Services so his semen can be collected and preserved.

    This is part of a joint venture between the horses’ owners, the stallion centre, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) and the Suffolk Horse Society.

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    Tullis Matson, managing director of Stallion AI Services and RBST trustee, told H&H the move to export Suffolk horse genetics to New Zealand is “really exciting”.

    “There are only 72 breeding females left in the country and only 300 in the world,” he said, adding that he hopes to export semen to the US and Australia in the near future.

    “I was at a Livestock Conservancy meeting in America recently [where it was discussed that] one of the only ways we can try to protect the Suffolk horse is to spread their genetic pool around the world.”

    He added while there are “a lot of hoops to jump through”, Stallion AI Services is experienced in exporting semen across the world and understands the import, export and biosecurity measures that go with shipping semen internationally.

    The RBST has also welcomed the news.

    “We are very pleased to hear that Craikhow Hall Jensen will be helping to increase genepool diversity within the registered Suffolk horse population in New Zealand,” RBST field officer Richard Broad told H&H.

    The Rare Breeds Conservation Society of New Zealand added this is “one more wonderful step” towards reviving the Suffolk horse in New Zealand.

    “Thank you to Lee of Equibreed NZ Ltd, not only for arranging these straws of the most amazing stallion, but for her belief in the [Suffolk horse’s] place in NZ.”

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