I was a little late down to the yard that morning as it was my birthday and I had indulged in opening my presents and thanking my family before I set off.

Mabel’s stable was near the feed room, and she always had her head over the door when she was waiting for her feed. I hurried past and then did a double take. Why wasn’t her head out? I walked backwards a couple of steps, and as she pricked her ears to acknowledge my presence, I noted a fluffy white tail waggling next to her shoulder as her foal suckled.

Having worked on a thoroughbred stud for nine years foaling down mares, it was a little embarrassing that Mabel showed me no signs and foaled unsupervised eleven days early, but wow–best birthday present ever!

A beautifully marked filly foal was more than I had dared hope for, and both mother and daughter were none the worse for lack of human supervision. It was such a lovely warm day that, after having them both veterinary checked, I turned them out in a tiny paddock for a little while. Poor Mabel had to endure baby photos with a too long hog as I had planned on trimming her up that weekend.

Within days I could pick up all of Florence’s feet and she led out to the paddocks without problem. She always had a gallop around just before she was brought in and, to this day, enjoys having a buck and kick out in the field.

She was shown in hand as a youngster and achieved some great results, such as Champion Coldblood Foal, Yearling and then Two Year Old at consecutive BSPA Championships. She has been second at Lincs County and third at Great Yorkshire.

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