'An amazing horse': Queen's Suffolk Punch put to sleep after injury

Bruce Kerr, Suffolk Show Director with Her Majesty The Queen's Suffolk Punch, Whitton Poppy at Easto

The Queen's Suffolk Punch, Whitton Poppy at Easton Farm Park pictured with Suffolk Show Director Bruce Kerr - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A Suffolk Punch that had to be put to sleep earlier this week has been described as "an amazing horse" who was an "ambassador for the breed".

Whitton Poppy, an 18-year-old mare had to be euthanised on Tuesday after becoming stuck in a ditch overnight at Easton Farm Park.

Fiona Siddall, owner of the farm, said the horse had become part of the "farm park family" in the years she had spent on the farm.   

Whitton Poppy was bred by Tom Walne and gifted to the Queen as part of her Golden Jubilee celebrations, before making her way back to Suffolk and Easton Farm Park just over a decade ago.

Fiona Siddall, owner of Easton Farm Park with her Suffolk Punch Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Fiona Siddall, owner of Easton Farm Park with a different Suffolk Punch - Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Ms Siddall said: "My team came in early on Tuesday morning and the other horse was whinnying and took them over to the ditch where Poppy had obviously got herself stuck on Monday night.

"They called the vet and, the vet came out and then called the fire brigade.

"Eventually we managed to get her out of the ditch, and we spent the best part of the day trying to get her back on her legs. But she'd obviously done some damage to her back end and they said there was no way she was going to get up again so she was euthanised at about 3pm on Tuesday."

Tom Walne with Whitton Poppy back in 2001

Tom Walne with Suffolk Punch Whitton Poppy back in 2003 - Credit: JERRY TURNER

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"She's been with us a long time and, you know, she's become part of the furniture. It's always the problem with these horses — they become like pets and you get rather too attached to them.

"She was still owned by the Queen, having been gifted to her, but she was very much part of the farm park family.

"Poppy lived to 18 and I think she's had four foals, so she's been a really good ambassador for the breed. She was a great horse, she's had some great foals and that's all you want in a Suffolk mare — that they can perpetuate the breed."

EADT-NEWSPhotograph Simon Parker 9/2/2010The Countess of Wessex visits Easton Farm P

The Countess of Wessex pictured meeting Poppy Whitton at Easton Farm Park and chatting with Steve Swan and Fiona Siddall in 2010. - Credit: SIMON PARKER

One of Poppy's foals is the award-winning horse, Florence of Easton, and she was pregnant with another foal at the time of her death.

The farm owner said: "She's had a lovely life but she's done her bit to spread the word about about the Suffolk punch and to get the next generation interested in the horse. 

"She came out every day that we were open to meet the children. As a Suffolk Punch she was a beautiful specimen. She was kind, she was giving, she was very docile.

"We were very lucky to have her for as long as we did."

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