Video: Suffolk Punch foal born

THEY are one of the world's rarest animals, but the Suffolk Punch's numbers have been given a welcome boost after a filly foal was born in the county.

Laurence Cawley

THEY are one of the world's rarest animals, but the Suffolk Punch's numbers have been given a welcome boost after a filly foal was born in the county.

Euston Emerald was born at Euston Farm Park on the Euston Estate, between Bury St Edmunds and Thetford, on Saturday - just weeks before the 90th birthday of the estate's owner, the 11th Duke of Grafton.

The birth was described by Lady Euston as great birthday present for the Duke.


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“He is absolutely delighted,” she said. “He has been breeding Suffolk Punches for decades and this is very exciting for us.”

Lady Euston said both foal and mother were “doing very well” and told how the recent addition was a welcome boost to the breed's numbers.

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She said: “They are one of the rarest animals on the planet. Anything one can do to support the population is very welcome.”

The Suffolk Punch breed - the oldest heavy horse breed in the UK - came close to extinction during the latter half of the 20th Century because their work in the field was replaced by machines.

As the breed's plight became more widely known efforts were made to keep it alive and numbers are slowly increasing.

In 2007, the Suffolk Horse Society registered 36 pure-bred Suffolk foals born during the year - 13 colts and 23 fillies.

A quick guide to the Suffolk Punch:

Although the breed dates from the sixteenth century, all animals alive today trace their male lines back to one stallion, a horse called Crisp's Horse of Ufford, near Woodbridge, foaled in 1768.

The first known mention of the Suffolk Punch is in William Camden's Britannia, published in 1586.

The Suffolk Horse got the name “punch” because of its stocky build.

There are currently about 150 horses in the UK and between 800 and 1,200 in the United States.

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