Rare twin foals are named after Star Wars characters

A RARE one in 10,000 chance birth of twin foals has astounded a Burnley horse owner.

Monday, 16th May 2011, 2:22 pm

Ann Stockdale, of Bevington Close, could not believe her eyes when her horse Poppy gave birth to two tiny ponies.

Experts say chances of both foals surviving are incredibly thin but, against overwhelming odds, little Princess Leia Organa and her “surprise” sister Mara Jade Skywalker were delivered safe and healthy.

In nearly all cases, one or both foals die in a twin pregnancy as the mother cannot support two babies and Star Wars fan Ann has described it as a “miracle”.

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“Everyone was gob-smacked,” she said. “They couldn’t believe it because it is a very, very rare thing.”

The double delight came as a massive shock to everyone at Moor Edge Farm Stud, Worsthorne, home to the father - an Arab stallion nicknamed Yoda - and the Irish Draft Cross thoroughbred mother - Poppy - who Ann bought in a poor state.

An early scan on the pregnant filly only showed up with one foal so the twin birth was even more of a shock.

Moor Edge Farm owner Elaine Salkeld, who has been breeding horses for 25 years, said: “I was absolutely stunned. I have never seen twins before.”

Elaine had helped deliver the first chestnut brown foal and was getting some medicine for the new mother when she started giving birth again to the second baby - a beautiful jet black foal.

“My daughter shouted me over and the mare was in the process of delivering the second foal and I just said ‘oh my God!’ When it was born it was alive and well and we were all just shell shocked.

“It was a huge surprise to us all. It is very rare to see both of them surviving.”

To the amazement of everyone the new arrivals were up, suckling and trotting around within hours.

But the tiny twins’ story is even more amazing as vets often choose to terminate one of the developing foetuses to avoid the dangers of a double pregnancy which can prove fatal for mother and baby.

Ann said: “They are very special. We just can’t believe it. We feel very, very lucky.

They are both absolutely stunning and beautiful and they are doing really well.”