Lydia Barry and course student Damien Fitton had the privilege to oversee the birth of the year at the INS, when Queen Quevega – six time winner of Cheltenham’s Mares’ Hurdle – finally popped out her new baby son. A full 28 days over the due date, he weighed in at a very healthy 51 kilos.
The stud had been on high alert, expecting the news at any time, but there are no C-Sections in horses so she made us wait for that special delivery. And special he is.
Our midwife Lydia had remained vigilant throughout – picking up on the mare’s night time habits and even favourite sleeping positions. “From what I have seen, Quevega is a very quiet mare and a champion sleeper which is always helpful as foaling behaviour is noticed a lot easier”.
“She started to heat up over about a half an hour period but she only broke into a light sweat and then began lifting her tail up and down, this was a good indicator that her waters were close to breaking.”
She was then moved into the delivery suite where “she calmly lay down perfectly in the middle of the box for us and began to foal. We guided the front feet out, (you can tell as soon as the front legs appear what size the foal is likely to be and they were quite large!).
The foaling was pretty much text book perfect and Quevega took a few moments to recover as all mares do and was then anxious to see what her hard work had brought. She began calling to the foal so we moved him closer so that she could reach him. She knew exactly what to do and starting licking him dry which is a brilliant sign”.
The colt was up and standing quite quickly which is noteworthy as sometimes they can take longer than fillies. He needed a few pointers to get in the right direction to nurse, but was soon running around mum in circles. “Quevega is a brilliant mum, she was very gentle with him, encouraging him to nurse”.
Lydia has been delivering these babies for the last four years, starting out in Newmarket and is a key member of the foaling team here at the Irish National Stud. The team will deliver around 250 foals this season. Watch Quevega’s newborn here:
Such is Quevega’s cult status, it’s already been viewed over 60,000 times!
For this son of Walk In The Park, his chapter is just beginning. His breeders – The Hammer & Trowel Syndicate – will enjoy these early years and hope he’ll emulate his illustrious parents.
COMING SOON… Chart his progress by watching our Five to Follow page. Regular updates will occur as these foals move through their lives.