The National Trust reports Disaster for MyFarm’s Shire Horse Foaling

By The National Trust, PRNE
Wednesday, July 13, 2011

SWINDON, England, July 14, 2011 -

The National Trust’s MyFarm team at Wimpole Home Farm in
Cambridgeshire have been eagerly awaiting the foaling of Queenie,
the only Shire Horse mare at Wimpole for weeks now.

As over 800 people or groups of people saw, Queenie went into
her much anticipated labour.  At 11.45pm she gave birth to a
beautiful filly foal.  Although she had a perceptible
heartbeat when she was born she was not breathing.  Emma,
horse manager at href="">
Wimpole Farm, tried hard and long to get her to breathe with
the help of farmer manager Richard Morris.  A vet was on the
phone throughout, talking the team through the procedures.
 None of our efforts could save her and she peacefully slipped
away a few minutes after her birth.

Richard said: “As you can imagine, we are all devastated by this
awful and unexpected outcome.  Although watchers of the
foaling on the webcam saw the true, grim realities of animal
husbandry this in no way belittles the personal sense of tragedy
and loss we are all feeling. This bitter disappointment is tempered
only with the fact that the filly foal did not suffer at all.”

As part of the National Trust’s MyFarm experiment, the birth was
broadcast live over the internet.  The project, which started
in May, aims to reconnect people with the realities of life on a
working, commercial farm allowing them to effectively href="">become
a farmer. The MyFarm Farmers can discuss and make decisions on
every aspect of the farm: the crops grown, href="">livestock,
the new facilities to be invested in and the machinery to be used,
much like a real life version of href="">Farmville, the popular
Facebook game.

As one MyFarm farmer commenting on the website just after the
birth said: “I’m so sorry everyone.  That was awful to watch,
but I guess this is the reality of farm life sometimes.  I
felt so helpless watching the efforts to save her.”

Richard continued: “It was a huge decision for us to do a live
broadcast of the birth.  There was never a guarantee that the
foaling would be straight forward and unfortunately, this proved to
be the case.  But we didn’t want to hide people from the risks
involved - it’s fundamental to the purpose of this project - to
reconnect people with the realities of farming to allow the
possibility of lows as well as highs.”  

In the morning, Queenie was doing well.  She was turned out
into her paddock to get some fresh air and Emma is speaking to the
vet to find out the best way of stopping the milk production.

As Queenie is a fit and healthy mare, and due to it being prime
horse breeding season, the team is keen that she gets back to the
stallion again in approximately three weeks to see if she can
become pregnant once more. There is no reason to believe that
Queenie won’t foal successfully in the future.

About The National Trust:

The National Trust is one of the most important nature
conservation charities in Europe.  The Trust is involved in
the whole food chain, with 200,000 hectares of food producing land,
over 150 restaurants and tearooms, and historic kitchen gardens,
orchards and mills. The charity has community growing spaces - from
allotments to kitchen gardens - at over 50 locations around the
country and is increasing these annually.  These spaces
inspire the Trust’s 3.8 million members, 60,000 volunteers and
visitors to think and learn about food.  The National Trust is
creating 1,000 new allotment plots on its land in the next three
years to give local communities the space to grow their own fruit
and vegetables.  

PR Contact:
Jeannette Heard
Press Officer
National Trust
Kemble Drive
01793 817706


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