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Claire Seidl of Tennyson Stud was not surprised when Belcam Altina (aka Sierra), a mare that she was foaling down for client and friend Lynne Rydge, decided to give birth in the early hours of 8 November, however she was surprised when instead of one foal she was presented with two!
"My husband can be a bit of a comedian," laughs Claire when asked about the birth, "and when the first baby came out I went around to the mare's head to pat her and he said 'there's another one!' and I said 'don't be silly! now is not the time,' and he replied 'I'm very serious come and have a look for yourself!' and sure enough there was another one on its way out."
"At around 6.00am I sent Lynne a text that said 'Sierra has foaled'. Normally I would also say what the baby was or send a photo, but this time I just said she foaled because I didn't know what to say! Lynne texted me back and said, 'what is it? is everything okay?' so then I rang her, because she was obviously awake, and said 'it's a girl and there's two!! You can imagine her astonishment - she wouldn't believe me and I had to repeat telling her that she had twins!"
In previous pregnancies, Sierra had lost twins, so this time she was on medication, careful scans were undertaken at 14 and 45 days, an ultrasound carried out at three months and then an internal exam done at six months, to ensure there were no twins and all was fine. None of these procedures revealed that the mare was indeed again pregnant with twins, but this time she would perform a miracle and beat the 1 in 10,000 odds and give birth to two healthy fillies.
The delightful little girls, who are still going strong at two weeks of age, are by Worldwide PB and have been paddock-named Willow and Feather. They are both small, however, Feather is the smallest of the two and is quite a character!
"Feather is really feisty," says Claire, "you would think she'd be the timid under dog but not so! She's a real hoot - she'll trot right up to you and want a cuddle and a scratch. She's very bossy to her mum, so the mare knocked her over a couple of times until the little thing ended up getting up and double barrelling her! Feather is everybody's favourite because you look at her and think she's so sweet and fragile and she's not!"
As for the future for these gorgeous babies, Claire is hopeful, "I didn't ring the vet right away when they were born because they seemed fine and were doing everything they should be doing. When I did ring him he was shocked that they were both so well. They are healthy, although little and the vet has said that with the right nutrition, and not just us feeding them correctly but as long as the mare's milk is providing the right nutrients, they have every chance of growing up to be perfectly healthy horses. Lynne really wanted a colt (to eventually geld) but now these two have come along and are so special, I think she'll find it hard to sell them. They will have careers in dressage. Both will be little dressage princesses!"
Sierra couldn't be happier with her twin bundles of joy, "she's always been cranky and you can't catch her, but now she's like a big marshmallow! I just wonder if the whole time she's been upset with losing her babies and now she has what she's always wanted and absolutely adores them. She's besotted by her little girls and is a totally different horse to be around."
We look forward to hearing of the progress of these beautiful babies in the months to come!
story: Jo Johnson/Horsezone