Foal is star as thousands flock to open day

THIS beautiful filly foal was the star attraction at an open day as visitors took part in a competition to christen her.

Simon Tomlinson

THIS beautiful filly foal was the star attraction at an open day as visitors took part in a competition to christen her.

She was the first Suffolk Punch foal to be born in 2009 when mare Gigi gave birth to her on February 6.

She has not yet been named, but there was no shortage of suggestions from admirers during the Suffolk Punch Trust's open day at its 200-acre stud in Hollesley Bay on Saturday.

A number of names - which must begin with the letter V - have been entered in the competition, with the winner being announced next month.

The other 28 Suffolk Punch horses, including three stallions, and the oldest registered flock of Suffolk Sheep - which can be traced back to around 1903 - were also on display.

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The hugely popular event, which showcased the county's rural heritage, attracted around 4,000 people.

Philip Ryder-Davies, chairman of the Suffolk Punch Trust, said: “I can't think of words to describe the day. The place was seething with people, but more importantly everybody has enjoyed themselves.

“The foal is very sweet. She is very attractive and everyone loves her.”

On view as well during the day were the Suffolk lambs which were born last week and retired racehorses that are liveried on the stud at Sink Farm.

The open day also featured a demonstration by a wheelwright, heavy horses harrowing fields, traditional Suffolk country music and birds of prey flying displays.

Visitors were able to tour the site, which includes nearly 140 acres of fenced paddocks, and mark the progress being made since the Trust purchased the horses, land, buildings and equipment from the Prison Services in 2006.

Last year, EADT readers raised �40,000 towards the cost of a Visitor Centre - the construction of which started on site three weeks ago and is due for completion later this year. In total, more than �1.2m has been raised by supporters of the Trust since 2004.

For further information about The Suffolk Punch Trusts, visit www.suffolkpunchtrust.org.

simon.tomlinson@eadt.co.uk