Spring has officially sprung at Writtle University College! The campus has been brought to life in recent weeks with the arrival of daffodils, lambs and now the first foal of the season.
The filly, by Cevin Z, was born on Wednesday 21 March and is the first to arrive at the brand new Lordships Stud facility, located at the equine campus (Cow Watering Campus). The naming of foals at WUC is a tradition involving students, who vote for their preferred category of names. The most popular category is then used to name all of the foals born that season so they have a theme. This year’s choices include Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Gemstones, Shakespeare and Cocktails.
Writtle enjoys a track-record for producing competition-winning and elite show-jumping and dressage horses. The Stud won a British Eventing Breeders’ Medal this year for the leading British-bred horse in the Eventing Five Year Old Championships. The Stud also produced the Reserve Champion Three Year Old Showjumper at the British Equestrian Federation’s Futurity Championships 2017. The Champion Riding Horse at the Horse of the Year Show in 2016 and 2017 was also born at Writtle.
Caroline Flanagan, Head of Higher Education Equine and Veterinary Physiotherapy, said: “It is a really exciting time of year. It provides a fantastic opportunity for our students to see and experience what it is like to breed horses as part of their course. They work closely with our expert staff and receive a fascinating insight into the world of equine reproduction and stud management. We are unique in having this specialist breeding facility on campus. Students really benefit from getting hands-on and involved in the delivery, care and welfare of our horses. It’s a great learning experience for them as they prepare for the world of work after graduation. We are proud of our track record. It’s wonderful to see the horses being born and raised on campus by our staff and students and then going off to develop a successful competitive career. This filly is the first of six foals expected this year. We’re looking forward to meeting the rest of them!”
Speaking about her experiences of helping with the delivery of the filly, third year BSc (Hons) Equine Performance and Business Management student Rose Sheehan from Ireland, said: “It is a great experience to be able to assist in the foaling of mares at university. I was involved as part of a team which consisted of sitting up duties through the night. This is where we undertake activities including checking the mares for signs of progression and imminent signs of parturition. We are also involved in assisting the mare in giving birth and the aftercare of both the mare and foal. This is extremely important in preparation for working within the equine industry.”