Three adorable Suffolk foals boost breed numbers

  • A breeder has welcomed the birth of three Suffolk foals this season as he hopes to boost numbers of the rare breed.

    Adrian Hoskins from Buckinghamshire, a former thoroughbred breeder, welcomed a colt and two fillies last month.

    Adrian, who bought his first Suffolk mare in 2015, told H&H he is keen to keep the breed lines diversified and all three foals are unrelated.

    “People say breeding Suffolks is hard, they can be difficult to get in foal because they’re such big horses, though mine have been quite good and all took first time,” said Adrian.

    “I chose mares as far genetically removed as I could get. Each of my mares is a different line and they went to a different stallion. It would have been easier to use the same stallion but I split them up so I would have the diversity.”

    Colt Edgehill Bumble, by Hollbeach Iggy, was born on 11 May out of Holbeache Honey. Edgehill Bellflower, by Hessett Horation, was born on 28 May out of Millgreen Midnight Rose, and Edgehill Baroness Beatrix by Shotleyfield Dazzling Duke was born on 31 May out of Gateridge Imogen.

    Adrian, who owns five Suffolk mares and two yearlings, plans to sell the colt Bumble, and hopes to breed from at least one of the fillies in the future.

    “The aim is to have a herd by all different lines. It’s difficult to do; because there are so few they’re all over the country and it can become quite costly,” said Adrian.

    “There has been press about how few Suffolks there are, but people tend not to breed from them.”

    Adrian plans to show his Suffolks and says the idea that they are just work horses has gone “out of the window”.

    “I’ll show the youngsters I have this year, and once the foals are weaned they’ll be shown next year. I have a mare who sadly lost a foal in January, and she’ll be broken to drive this year,” he said.

    “There are people doing dressage and hunting with Suffolks. They’re getting a bigger profile but we’re at a critical stage where there is only a limited number of them. So far there have been 25 Suffolk foals born this year, and only 11 fillies which doesn’t help the situation.”

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    Adrian said the three foals are doing well.

    “They’re very inquisitive and growing really quickly. They’re all out in the field together; the mums are really good but the foals sometimes get a bit confused – yesterday two were at one mare and the mum was looking like ‘which one is mine?’,” said Adrian.

    “I would like to ultimately have a herd of between six and eight mares to breed from but the mares are really difficult to come by, people don’t want to part with them understandably.”

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