22-year-old New Forest Pony has shocked equine experts with the surprise birth of healthy twin foals because the chances of both surviving are so slim.
In nearly all cases, one or both foals die in a twin pregnancy because the mother’s uterus cannot support two babies.
The chances of a mare giving birth to healthy twin foals are about 1 in 10,000, experts said today.
But little filly Bess, and colt Royal, have defied the odds by becoming the first twins to be born in the New Forest, Hampshire for many years.
And at just a few weeks old, the playful pair are lapping up all the attention they are attracting from horse lovers across the country.
Royal Beatrice gave birth to the pair at St Leonards Farm near Beaulieu after mating with a spotted Appaloosa Cockaroost Pazaz stallion.
The inquisitive foals survey their new home side-by-side
Bess and Royal can thank their father for their distinctive white markings and have been registered as First Cross New Forest/Appaloosa ponies.
Secretary of the New Forest Pony Breeding and Cattle Society, Jane Murray, said: “It is extremely unusual for horses to give birth to twins like this.
“To get both foals surviving to full pregnancy is a very rare feet indeed and we only have a couple of examples in our stud book of it ever happening before.
“But it is even more rare when the mare is so old. At 22, I think it’s fair to say that Royal Beatrice has done extremely well to have healthy twins.
“Her owners can be well and truly chuffed.”
Owner Stacey Gulliver from Beaulieu added: “Although my dad did mention she looked a bit fatter than is usual, it was a total surprise that it was twins, especially as they are so rare.”
How cute are they? I guess they don’t do ultrasounds on horses…This couple msut feel like they won the lottery!