By Becca Husselbee
A Shetland Pony has foxed vets after it gave birth to a rare half horse half donkey.
Owner Lauren Mosgrove, 24, had put her 11 year old Peaches in a field with a donkey for a short time but vets had assured her it was impossible for the pair to breed.
However the rare foal, classed as a ‘Hinny’, a cross between a horse and donkey, was born on Tuesday night, measuring almost as tall as her Shetland pony mum.
Mum Peaches is just 30 inches tall, while newborn donkey, Katie, is just 10 inches behind at 20 inches tall, with plenty of time to grow.
Owner, Lauren, who looks after three horses and new addition Katie on the family plot of land, said: “We were told that it would be safe to keep the donkey with Peaches as it was impossible for the pair to mate.
“I ventured down to the stable to check on her as I knew the foal would arrive any day soon, and she had started to sweat up.
“I ran to grab my coat and when I came back the head had appeared. I knew straight away what had happened.
“We still can’t believe it. The vets have said that it’s incredibly rare.”
Lauren bought first-time mum, Peaches, from a breeder around three years ago after she and her husband-to-be, Peter, 44, and four-year-old son, Matthew, moved to a new property with empty stables.
Lauren from Jedburgh, a town on the Scottish borders, bought two Shetland ponies, one with a foal at foot, before one was sold leaving the young colt and Peaches along with two rescued male donkeys.
The male donkey, known as ‘baby donkey’, was kept as a companion with Peaches after vets told Lauren the two would be safe together but he was later rehomed nearby.
Lauren said: “We started to notice that she had put on a bit of weight but it wasn’t until I felt the foal kick as I was picking out her hooves one day, that I had the vet down to take a look.
“We only found out four weeks ago.
“He did a blood test and confirmed she was in foal and we assumed that the dad was my Shetland colt we also had at the time, as he had broken through the fencing on one occasion. “
Despite the size difference, Peaches had a straightforward labour, and managed to deliver baby Katie on her own, without any damage.
Vet, Ryan O’Connor, from Galedin Veterinary practice, paid Peaches a visit to check her over and make sure baby Katie was able to feed properly.
Vet Iain Laghangie was also on hand to give Laren some advice for the new mum, he said: “I have been a vet for 22 years and have never seen anything like this before.
“I think Lauren was still very taken back by the arrival when she called me some advice over the phone in the middle of the night.
“She had to tell me twice because I thought it was a windup.
“A previous vet had told her that it was impossible for the two to mate but that’s clearly not the case and it’s not a breeding programme we would recommend, although Peaches has coped really well.
“It’s not uncommon for two species to mate unless they are gelded, maybe it was thought it wouldn’t happen because Mum would be too small.
“The new mum has coped really well and you would be surprised how well they can adapt to carry a bigger foal.
“She is making plenty of milk and the baby is managing to get down low enough to suckle, however, it maybe that the foal has to be weaned away from Mum a little sooner than natural as she starts to become too bigger.”
Katie, named after Lauren’s late grandmother, will have a forever home with Lauren and mum Peaches.
She said: “The foal was standing in five minutes and started suckling straight away, she is running rings round Mum already.
“I want to keep them together forever.”