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Shire foal orphaned when walkers fed his dam thrives because of 33 pints of bottle-fed milk a day

  • A Shire who was orphaned at four weeks old when his dam was fed by walkers has survived and thrived thanks to being bottle-fed up to 33 pints of milk a day.

    John and Georgie Robinson’s Boris was born during lockdown in 2020 – named as it rhymed with his dam’s name Doris rather than after the prime minister of the time – and orphaned weeks later.

    “Someone fed her over the fence,” John told H&H. “She was only nine and her stomach ruptured.”

    Georgie added that the family was having lunch outside and it first appeared as if Doris had colic.

    “We got the foal on the wagon and she had no fight to get back to him,” she added. “We got them both to Leahurst but only he came home.”

    The family breeds Shires for the drays of Frederick Robinson Ltd brewery, and still had retiree Geoff, who became Boris’s “grandfather” and looked after him.

    “It was hard to find a foster mare as it was four weeks after the birth,” John said. “So we fed him and Geoff taught him to be a horse, and they were inseparable.”

    The foal was fed every three hours from 5am to 1-2am from May to August.

    “It was teamwork,” Georgie said. “I did mornings and he did evenings. Our sons were three and five at the time and they got involved too – and I mixed it in a wine cooler!”

    Boris was later put with another yearling foal, and has grown up to be a “very well-mannered, lovely boy”, thanks also to the help of Helen Priest and Lisa Trotter from the brewery, and John Worthington. He will not be big enough for the drays, the Robinsons said, but he has a home for life.

    “It was a particularly hard time for me,” John said. “My mum had died in the January and my dad had terminal cancer so he moved in with us, and we had two young children and an orphan foal. He was our saviour in lockdown, and now he’s not going anywhere; he’ll never be sold.”

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