The miniature foal returned to Maree Burke with proud mum Classy Chloe.
The miniature foal returned to Maree Burke with proud mum Classy Chloe. Crystal Spencer

Foal heist was a thunderbolt

A GRIEVING miniature mare has been re-united with her missing foal after the horse thieves who stole the animal in the dark of night just hours after it was born realised they could not care for it.

The still un-named filly disappeared from a stable where her mother, a miniature horse named Classy Chloe, was locked up pending the imminent birth.

Chillingham miniature-horse-stud owner Marie Burke said she was puzzled and shocked nearly two weeks ago when she found the mare had lost her “pot belly” but no foal could be found.

She searched her property then called a vet who suggested the mare may have had a “phantom pregnancy”.

“I’ve been breeding horses all my life and I knew she was going to foal, but I thought maybe I was wrong,” said Mrs Burke.

“The mare was looking unhappy for a week, then I got up last Friday morning and the foal was in the stable.

“Whoever took it had trouble rearing it and decided to bring it back before it died.

“It was lacking food and it was so weak it couldn’t walk.

“Can you imagine how excited I was when it was returned?”

Mrs Burke said the foal was taken on the night of Tuesday, November 10 and returned on Tuesday, November 19, smelling as though it had been fed on condensed milk.

She has since had to feed it with specialised formulae and give the mare hormones to get her milk running again.

“It’s still not sucking real well but it’s going alright,” said Mrs Burke.

She said she still had not had time to name the foal, but given its dramatic first two weeks in the world suggested “maybe someone else might like to name her”.

Mrs Burke said she had her suspicions about who might havetaken the animal, possibly for a Christmas present.

“But I’m not going to accuse anyone because I’m not sure,” she said.

Horse thefts are rare in the Tweed, with a search of Tweed Daily News archives failing to find any record of another horse theft in the past six years.

Stealing horses was once a serous crime. Northern NSW bushranger Thunderbolt (Fred Ward) began his outlaw career stealing horses and was sent to Cockatoo Island jail in Sydney Harbour for 10 years in 1856 for horse theft.

Mrs Burke said she was appalled at the irresponsibility and crime she feels is now increasing in the Tweed area.

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