The Rothwell family from Tinahely are the talk of the parish after their champion mare gave birth to healthy twin foals against all the odds.
Twins in horses are extremely rare, and typically one or both are lost during pregnancy. Greenhall Dot, a former champion at the Dublin Horse Show, has never given birth to twins before, and these two colts are the first twins ever born on the farm of Derry Rothwell.
So rare is it to see twins born in horses that Sharon Rothwell, Derry’s daughter, said that the vet who attended after the birth said that he had in fact never seen live twin foals.
“She was the one we were watching and minding,” recalls Sharon. “She was being monitored by the camera day and night and was overdue, which is unusual as well.”
Finally on the May Bank Holiday weekend, Greenhall Dot showed signs she was in labour and Derry went to assist as Sharon watched on.
“She did everything normal.” she said. “Dad was with her and I saw her pop out one foal then said I would go back to bed for a little while until it stands up. All of a sudden, right after the first, out came another.
“They were both born healthy with plenty of life in them. We were concerned about the little one and the bigger one had a little trouble with his bladder, but that has rectified itself and they are thriving.”
She added: “My seven-year-old son keeps calling the little one ‘Peanut’ and it seems to have stuck.
"He couldn’t get up by himself to stand for a few days, so we had to help him and now we have to feed him at night to supplement what he’s getting from the mare.
“We have had everyone in the parish calling in to see them, one even brought a bottle of brandy. It’s like when someone has a new baby.”
Approximately one in 10,000 horse births are twins, compared to three in every 100 for humans.