First 2019 Suffolk Punch foal in the UK born in Suffolk
- Credit: Archant
The first Suffolk punch foal of the year in the UK has been born in Suffolk.
Coxwell Sir Frederick, known as Fred, was born at the Coxwell Stud on March 16.
The colt had been due at the end of February but was instead 16 days late.
Fred is the first Suffolk Punch horse to be born in the UK in 2019 and only the second in the world this year following the birth of a filly in Australia in February.
“It was definitely a relief when he was born,” said Heather Glockling who runs the stable with her husband David. “We had to bottle feed him for the first 12 hours as he could not drink from his mother, Crystal.”
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Fortunately with a little help from Mr and Mrs Glockling Fred made it through and is now almost a week old.
As well as being the first foal in the UK this year Fred is also the first foal to be born under the Coxwell Stud prefix since the 1980s.
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Prefixes are names chosen by breeders which are used to register animals; the Coxwell Stud prefix was previously owned by Mrs Glockling’s grandfather. When he died it was passed on to her and her husband.
“I have been brought up on Suffolk punch horses,” said Mrs Glockling.
Fred currently stands at around 11 hands or just under 4ft tall and will stay with his mother Crystal for the next few months of his life before being sold on.
Fred will also be taken to many local agricultural events this summer including the Suffolk Show.
It is hoped that Fred will be the first of many Suffolk Punch foals to be born globally this year.
According to figures from the Suffolk Horse Society 26 new foals were born in 2018 including 15 colts and 11 fillies. For 2019 it is hoping that this number will increase to 38 foals.
“It’s very important, they are a rare breed,” said Mrs Glockling, “we have to keep them going.
“We all have to try and find unrelated blood lines. It’s all very complicated.”
Why are Suffolk Punch so rare?
Suffolk Punch horses are an icon of the county but their population has struggled in recent years.
Last year the Rare Breed Survival Trust placed the horse as the third on its critical list of breeds for horses. Warnings at the time estimated that the breed could become extinct by 2027.
The population of heavy horses more generally has suffered in recent years.
Thousands of heavy horses died during the First World War where they were used to pull heavy artillery.
Suffolk Punch horses were bred to plough heavy, clay soil but as farms began to mechanise the need for such horses declined.
As well as the need for the horses dropping, their size and the cost of rearing them has also contributed to their numbers falling.
A number of different plans have been considered previously to try to help ensure the breed’s future including collecting genetic samples.