Page last updated at 21:11 GMT, Wednesday, 19 May 2010 22:11 UK

Stud farm in Liphook celebrates rare twin foal births

Twin foals with their mother Love Me Do
Owner Gayle Silvester did not know Love Me Do was expecting twins

The owner of a Hampshire stud farm is celebrating after one of her mares surprised her by giving birth to rare twin foals.

Gayle Silvester, who runs Colourthyme stud farm near Liphook, said her former showjumper Love Me Do gave birth to two healthy foals on Tuesday night.

Showjumping stallion Cavy's Boy is the father but the foals have no names yet.

The chances of a horse giving birth to healthy twins are about one in 10,000, according to the British Horse Society.

Ms Silvester said the 17-year-old mare's twin birth came as a big surprise.

"She had the one and we thought, 'she's finished', and then she lay down and started pushing, so I thought I ought to look and have a feel to see what was going on, and there was another one on its way," she said.

Love Me Do first foal was a colt (male) and the second was a filly (female), which is a bit weaker but Ms Silvester has been bottle feeding her to help her along.

She said she is confident the filly will make it and eventually grow into a strong, healthy mare.

Lee Hackett, the British Horse Society's senior executive of welfare, said it was "incredibly rare" that two foals were born healthy.

In most cases both of the foals will die during pregnancy, or only one will survive, he said.

One of the foals, a filly (female) is a bit weaker than the colt (male), which was born first

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