Photo Gallery: Rare Suffolk Punch foal born near Downham Market

Suffolk Punch Jade with her foal Princess Freya. Picture: Ian Burt

Suffolk Punch Jade with her foal Princess Freya. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

One of Norfolk's newest arrivals is a bit rarer than most.Princess Freya is one of around 150 Suffolk Punch horses left in the country.

The filly, born on Thursday, is one of just six foals of the breed registered to be born this year.

Princess, as she is called for short, was born to mother Jade at Norfolk Equine Vetinary Services's Ferdlant Stud in Barroway Drove.

Jade has a history of pregnancy problems so when it came to giving birth to her foal her owner decided to leave her in the care of vet Dr Hans Delaunois-Vanderperren and his partner Lianne Barrett.

Dr Delaunois-Vanderperren, originally from Belgium, said: 'It is always satisfying to deliver a healthy foal successfully but as it is one of only six Suffolk Punches to be born in the country this year it is even more special.

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'The breed are very difficult to get with foal and also very difficult to foal after that.

'With horses the birthing takes about 20 minutes so that is all you have to get the foal out alive.'

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Due to the difficulties of labour for horses Jade had to be rigged with an alarm to warn when her contractions started.

The birth was not straight forward with the umbilical chord getting wrapped round Princess Freya's leg which could have led to her being suffocated.

Ms Barrett said: 'We haven't had a lot of sleep for the last four weeks.

'It was worth it in the end. Seeing the foals playing, discovering new things and doing silly things is wonderful.'

Due to their scarcity Suffolk Punches can be worth thousands of pounds.

While Princess Freya, named after one of the owner's previous Suffolk Punches, is little now she could grow to 6ft tall and weigh a tonne.

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