AN Ingoldmells attraction welcomed an ‘unexpected’ arrival when one of its animals gave birth last week.
Staff at Hardy’s Animal Farm had been expecting a welcome new arrival from its pregnant Fallabella mare.
But what they hadn’t been anticipating was for their new arrival to be something of a rarity when it did make an appearance.
For the newborn was a rare miniature spotted foal - the first in the site’s 21 year history.
The Fallabella foal is one of the smallest breeds in the world and arrived around the expected day but not of the expected colour as the mother is plain chestnut.
The foal, which as yet has no name, was mostly white but covered in chestnut spots.
The site’s John Hardy said: ‘We were surprised and excited at the new arrival and were pleased the arrival went well as it was the first time the mother has given birth!
“To see this rare pretty spotted little foal was a delight as it is the first spotted foal we have had on the farm in all our 21 years.”
The miniature spotted pony is a native of the British Isles, and the spots on the coat act as a natural camouflage when they are in the wild.
The spotted horse dates back to prehistoric times and cave paintings of them have been found all around Europe.
Hardy’s Animal Farm is now looking for a name for the new arrival. It is running a ‘name the foal’ competition on its Facebook page, with the winner set to receive two season tickets to the farm.
Hardy’s Animal Farm is set in over seven acres of countryside, and features a merry menagerie of animals, with baby lambs, goats, ponies, calves, piglets and chicks all being born throughout the year.
Children are able to feed the goats, sheep, horses and many other animals, both large and small, whilst learning about modern farming in a safe and fun environment.
The site includes a large indoor play centre, slides, trampoline, climbing wall and football area, as well as child seating areas.