A DEDICATED horse breeder has been sleeping outside an orphaned foal’s stable so he can nurture her following the death of her mother.
Alistair King, who owns Cotebrook Shire Horse Centre, has been staying overnight in his car in order to feed the newborn every two hours.
The 63-year-old catches up on his sleep in the afternoons while staff at the centre take turns on feeding.
Mr King, who is one of the country’s top breeders of shire horses, said: “We love our animals and it requires that kind of dedication when something goes wrong.”
The foal’s mother sadly died from a twisted gut just two days after giving birth.
Luckily a surrogate called Candy, whose foal had died, was found in Congleton through the National Foaling Bank.
The 11-year-old former racehorse has since arrived at Cotebrook and is already inseparable from her adopted orphan, who is one of four foals born at the centre in recent weeks.
Among the newborns – three fillies and one colt – are two youngsters that have also required extra attention.
Joint owner Janet King said: “The filly can’t suckle from her mother so we are milking her and hand feeding the foal through a tube in her nose.
“Hopefully she will soon learn to suckle by herself.”
Janet and her husband Alistair are now calling on the public to come up with names for the foals, and be in with a chance of winning a limited edition model of the centre’s horses.
“It’s a tradition that we ask the public to name our foals,” explained Janet.
“The only rule is that fillies are named after Scottish lochs and colts are named after Scottish mountains.”