Joy at Jimmy's Farm as two Suffolk foals are born

Suffolk colt

Suffolk colt - Credit: Jimmy's Farm & Wildlife Park

Two Suffolk foals have been born at Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park near Ipswich, providing a huge boost for the conservation of the endangered breed.

A filly foal, born to Spearman Annie on May 14, has been named Spearman Bellatrix and is likely to be the only pure-bred foal sired by the stallion, saving his rare bloodline. 

The Suffolk Punch breed is categorised as a priority on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust’s annual watchlist and the births of just 16 pure-bred Suffolk filly foals were registered in 2021.

The safe arrival of a filly foal is cause for particular celebration because when a breed’s population is so low, the birth of new females is vitally important.

There was further cause for celebration with the birth of a purebred Suffolk colt foal the previous week to another Suffolk mare, Spearman Annabelle. 

Suffolk filly foal

Suffolk filly foal - Credit: Jimmy's Farm & Wildlife Park

The foals were born as the result of a collaboration that was instigated and supported by the Suffolk Horse Society, an organisation that works to improve the breed’s prospects for the future. 

Jimmy Doherty, the owner of Jimmy’s Farm and Wildlife Park, a member of the Suffolk Horse Society and Vice President of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, said: “I’m delighted at the arrival of both foals.

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"When the Suffolk Horse Society asked if we would be able to contribute to this breeding project by hosting the two mares, we were over the moon and jumped at the chance. 

Farmer and TV presenter, Jimmy Doherty.

Jimmy Doherty said he was thrilled to be contribute to the Suffolk Horse Society's breeding project - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

“We are elated with these two beautiful foals; the result of two successful pregnancies. The Suffolk Horse is an irreplaceable feature of our local heritage here in Suffolk and these foals will help strengthen the population.” 

Mark Donsworth, the chairman of the Suffolk Horse Society, said: “The Suffolk Horse breed as we know it today can be traced back to 1768, and there were many thousands of Suffolks throughout East Anglia before the First World War."

“But today the breed is the rarest of the UK’s purebred Heavy Horses, and urgent action is necessary to secure its future. Every purebred Suffolk foal born is incredibly precious but as a filly foal continuing a very rare bloodline, Spearman Bellatrix gives cause for extra celebration.” 

Tracey Pettitt from the Suffolk Punch Trust and Colony Stud led the team working around the clock to check on the horses in the lead up to the births.