A REAL equine rarity has appeared on a Scottish stud farm in the Highlands.

A Suffolk Punch filly foal has been born at Achilty Stud, near Contin, in Ross-shire and the fact that it is a filly has been a great source of joy for owner, David Shand.

He told The Scottish Farmer: "Although Achilty Sports Horses have a good mix of Warmbloods and, of course, my pure-bred Trakehners, for years I have wanted a Suffolk Punch and it had to be a mare, or filly, but every year it was the same story ... there were none to be got.

"My luck changed last year when the Suffolk Punch Trust said they could sell me one of their mares, the 11-year-old Colony Vee. I googled her and couldn’t get back on the phone quick enough to pay deposit! To boot she was in foal to the pure-bred stallion, Stockton Boxer.

"However, I was even more delighted when she safely came off Eric Gillies' lorry. And so, early morning on Tuesday, May 25, Vee foaled herself with no problem. Obviously, I was desperate for a filly foal and low and behold that’s what she had!"

David has called her Achilty Ruby-May and said he will definitely be keeping her and her mother in the hope they are the start of Achilty Suffolk Punches.

And, they are a rarity. There are only 80 breeding mares left in this country and something like 300 across the world. Ruby-May is thought to be one of only nine filly foals born this year in the UK. "So, I'm really glad to be doing my bit to preserve them," added David.