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Raydon: Triplet surprise for stable owner

15:00 14 June 2011

Three foals have been  born at a livery yard in Raydon. The foals all have surrogate mothers but are biologically triplets. Shanziska with her surrogate mother, Dizzy Knight

Three foals have been born at a livery yard in Raydon. The foals all have surrogate mothers but are biologically triplets. Shanziska with her surrogate mother, Dizzy Knight


RAYDON: These three new arrivals – delivered against the odds – are causing quite a stir at one Suffolk stable.


When the owners of top dressage horse Sissi decided to breed the mare, they decided to find a trio of surrogates to carry her offspring to allow her to continue competing.

But they got more than they bargained for when each of the three horses fell pregnant – much to the shock of vets involved in the complicated procedure.

The foals, two colts and a fillie, which were born last month, can technically be classed as triplets – which, according to vet Emma Tomlinson, who carried out the fertility treatment, is incredibly rare in the equine world.

Gerda Warner, owner of Water Farm Dressage Centre in Raydon, near Hadleigh, said she never imagined she would become the proud owner of three foals when she decided to breed Westphalian mare Sissi.

The surrogate route was chosen to prevent Sissi from being out of action for 18 months – the duration of an equine pregnancy.

“I wanted to breed Sissi but without taking her out of work,” Mrs Warner said.

“If you have a horse in training with a certain goal in mind, 18 months out is a long time.

“We decided to go down the surrogacy route – it is usually used for polo ponies and is starting to become more common for racehorses too.

“There are only two clinics in the country where you can have it done.”

Mrs Warner took Sissi to the Beaufort Embryo Transfer clinic in Gloustershire where she was artificially inseminated.

Embryos fertilised by a stallion called Showmaker, were found to be viable after eight days.

They were then implanted into three surrogate mares – Special Breakfast, Normandy and Dizzy Knights, which were loaned from the centre.

And at the 60-day point, when the surrogate mares were scanned, the vets declared all three were pregnant

On May 8 the first of the trio arrived, Showzka, a male to Special Breakfast.

Then on May 23 Dizzy Knight gave birth to a female, Shanziska before Normandy had another male, Shazan.

Mrs Warner added: “We are over the moon to have three, we couldn’t believe it.

“It was a very worrying time waiting for them to arrive safely, but they were all healthy and are doing really well now.”

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