July 14, 2011

The National Trust reports Disaster for MyFarm’s Shire Horse Foaling

SWINDON, England, July 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

The National Trust's MyFarm team at Wimpole Home Farm in Cambridgeshire
have been eagerly awaiting the foaling of Queenie, the only Shire Horse mare
at Wimpole for weeks now.

As over 800 people or groups of people saw, Queenie went into her much
anticipated labour. At 11.45pm she gave birth to a beautiful filly foal.
Although she had a perceptible heartbeat when she was born she was not
breathing. Emma, horse manager at Wimpole Farm
[http://www.my-farm.org.uk/news-and-blog/meet-the-wimpole-farm-team ], tried
hard and long to get her to breathe with the help of farmer manager Richard
Morris. A vet was on the phone throughout, talking the team through the
procedures. None of our efforts could save her and she peacefully slipped
away a few minutes after her birth.

Richard said: "As you can imagine, we are all devastated by this awful
and unexpected outcome. Although watchers of the foaling on the webcam saw
the true, grim realities of animal husbandry this in no way belittles the
personal sense of tragedy and loss we are all feeling. This bitter
disappointment is tempered only with the fact that the filly foal did not
suffer at all."

As part of the National Trust's MyFarm experiment, the birth was
broadcast live over the internet. The project, which started in May, aims to
reconnect people with the realities of life on a working, commercial farm
allowing them to effectively become a farmer
[http://www.my-farm.org.uk/about/why-become-a-farmer ]. The MyFarm Farmers
can discuss and make decisions on every aspect of the farm: the crops grown,
livestock [http://www.my-farm.org.uk/on-the-farm/livestock ], the new
facilities to be invested in and the machinery to be used, much like a real
life version of Farmville [http://www.my-farm.org.uk ], the popular Facebook

As one MyFarm farmer commenting on the website just after the birth
said: "I'm so sorry everyone. That was awful to watch, but I guess this is
the reality of farm life sometimes. I felt so helpless watching the efforts
to save her."

Richard continued: "It was a huge decision for us to do a live broadcast
of the birth. There was never a guarantee that the foaling would be straight
forward and unfortunately, this proved to be the case. But we didn't want to
hide people from the risks involved - it's fundamental to the purpose of
this project - to reconnect people with the realities of farming to allow
the possibility of lows as well as highs."

In the morning, Queenie was doing well. She was turned out into her
paddock to get some fresh air and Emma is speaking to the vet to find out
the best way of stopping the milk production.

As Queenie is a fit and healthy mare, and due to it being prime horse
breeding season, the team is keen that she gets back to the stallion again
in approximately three weeks to see if she can become pregnant once more.
There is no reason to believe that Queenie won't foal successfully in the

About The National Trust:

The National Trust is one of the most important nature conservation
charities in Europe. The Trust is involved in the whole food chain, with
200,000 hectares of food producing land, over 150 restaurants and tearooms,
and historic kitchen gardens, orchards and mills. The charity has community
growing spaces - from allotments to kitchen gardens - at over 50 locations
around the country and is increasing these annually. These spaces inspire
the Trust's 3.8 million members, 60,000 volunteers and visitors to think and
learn about food. The National Trust is creating 1,000 new allotment plots
on its land in the next three years to give local communities the space to
grow their own fruit and vegetables.

            PR Contact:
        Jeannette Heard
        Press Officer
        National Trust
        Kemble Drive
        SN2 2NA
        01793 817706

SOURCE The National Trust