Max is going strong thanks to miracle mare

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IT IS a miracle in itself when a Suffolk Punch foal is born, each and every one is vital for the rare and endangered breed.

But when little Max’s mother, Blondie, damaged her leg and had to be put down an even greater miracle unfolded.

At only four weeks old, the foal – also known as Rede Renegade – was introduced to 14-year-old mare Withersfield Pride in the hope that she would take him on. And the mare, who hasn’t had a foal for four years, has now adopted him as her own and has even started to produce milk.

Breeder Nigel Oakley said: “We wanted him to keep his equine identity so he didn’t become humanised. We were hoping that she would accept him as a companion but she has more than mothered him and she has come into milk.”

Max was the first foal of 2011 to be born at Rede Hall, near Bury St Edmunds, and one of only 40 born in the UK every year.

The farm, owned by Nigel Smith, is home to 18 Suffolk Punch horses, cared for by Mr Oakley.

Withersfield Pride’s milk is now being tested by vets at Rossdale and Partners of Newmarket.

Mr Oakley said: “The vets are using this as a project to monitor the milk, if the milk improves then we have learnt something.”