Old pony pip is foaling around

PIP the pony has had a foal at the grand old age of 33 - a staggering 90-years-old in human terms.

PIP the pony has had a foal at the grand old age of 33 - a staggering 90-years-old in human terms.

Owner Julie Bassett, 42, thought Pip's parenting years were long gone and so kept her in a field near her home with a miniature Shetland pony called Jasper.

At 44ins tall or 11hands high Pip towers over Jasper, who stands at just 31in.

But the odd couple struck up an unlikely friendship and after almost seven years together Pip fell pregnant earlier this year.

Now Pip is the proud mum of Pogo after giving birth to the colt last month - something almost unheard of in the equine world.

Julie, of Earlham, Norwich, looks after the ponies with her husband Ken and has 21 in total.

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She said she was stunned - but delighted with the new arrival.

Julie said: “We took Pip's winter rug off in April and I thought she'd put a little bit of weight on.

“A couple of days later she was rolling around in the hay and my husband said he could see an udder.

“By that point there was nothing we could do because she was too far gone. She showed no signs of foaling and then on Sunday, May 11 there was little Pogo.”

It is not unusual for a larger pony to breed with a miniature Shetland.

But the age of the horse can bring complications, many of which would be similar to the problems women might suffer in pregnancies later on in life.

Mrs Bassett said Pip was more of a reserved pony while Jasper was more stubborn and cheeky.

She added: “Pogo is doing really well. He's absolutely fine.

“He's not growing upwards though so we think he's probably a miniature like his dad.

“His mother looks a bit strange standing next to him. Pip won't let us get near him at the moment but he's always running and jumping about.

“He goes to see his dad but I think he thinks Jasper is another foal he can play with.”

Liz Hall, of Hallswood Animal Sanctuary, who keeps horses among other animals at the Stratton Strawless-based sanctuary, said: “I am amazed this has happened.

“At 33-years-old Pip is a very old lady.

“I have never heard of this happening before, but I suppose this proves it is not impossible.

“So long as the horse is healthy and there are no problems, they are able to reproduce, but it is very rare.”

Pony and horse facts:-

-Ponies are a breed of horse that stand less than 14.2 hands (56.8 inches/144.3 cm) high.

-You can tell how old a horse is by the number of teeth it has.

-A horse gets all of its teeth by the time it is five-years-old after that the teeth just get longer.

-The oldest horse in the world is though to be former police horse 51-year-old Copper from Missouri, in America.

-The height of a horse is measured in hands. Each hand equals four inches.

-Females give birth to one foal (occasionally twins and rarely triplets) after an 11-month gestation period.

-The foal can stand within half an hour and it stays close to her side for the first few days of life. Foals are weaned after seven months.

-Horses have the largest eyes of any land animal.

-A horse can eat more food each day then a cow of the same size.