Suffolk foal settles into royal home

A SUFFOLK punch foal bred at an Ipswich farm is today settling in to her new home – at Hampton Court Palace.Filly Whitton Poppy was delivered to the royal residence on Monday by farmer Tom Walne.

A SUFFOLK punch foal bred at an Ipswich farm is today settling in to her new home – at Hampton Court Palace.

Filly Whitton Poppy was delivered to the royal residence on Monday by farmer Tom Walne.

The rare horse was born and bred on his farm in Old Norwich Road and was presented to the Queen as a gift from the members of the Suffolk Horse Society.

Mr Walne, 69, said: "It was sad to see her go, but we had always known that we couldn't afford to keep her on and we couldn't have asked for a better home for her. She will never want for anything.

"It was a mixture of emotions really because, although it's sad to see her go, we also felt really proud to know that our horse has been chosen for the Queen. It's a big honour."

Mr Walne and his partner Sandy Hewett, who is also part-owner of the horse, have been invited to travel to the palace to visit Poppy whenever they like, to see how she is progressing.

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Mr Walne said: "Everybody there was very hospitable. We were given a cup of tea and shown round the stables and they've told us we can go back whenever we like.

"The man from the stables phoned to let us know how she's getting on. He said she's had a good first night and seemed to be settling in well."

The idea of giving a Suffolk Punch to the Queen was first mooted by Mr Walne when he took his mare, Golden Harvest Girl, along to meet the Queen in Bury St Edmunds during her jubilee tour.

Mr Walne said: "I had been really nervous but as soon as she walked over it was just like talking to my Mum. We had a lovely conversation and she seemed very keen on the idea of having a Suffolk Punch."

While Mr Walne is sad to see the departure of his beloved foal, he is now looking forward to his next big arrival – Golden Harvest Girl is expecting another foal in March.

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