With the world watching, mare My Special Girl gave birth to a colt at 9:22 p.m. on Saturday, March 29, at Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center. The grey foal weighed 104 pounds and measured 39.5 inches from crown to tail.
The birth was broadcast via a Foal Cam, a live feed from My Special Girl’s stall in the New Bolton Center’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Since it was launched on Feb. 26, more than 133,000 people in 112 countries have tuned in to monitor the mare and await the birth of the foal.
“It was good that we were here,” says Regina Turner, associate professor of large animal reproduction. “It was a strain for the mare because it was a tight fit and the colt’s shoulders were hung up briefly in the birth canal. We are all so happy that the mare and foal are bonding so well. It looks like My Special Girl is going to be a great mom.”
The colt will spend its first six months at the Hofmann Center at New Bolton Center, until he is weaned. He will be adopted by Rose Nolen-Walston, New Bolton Center assistant professor of medicine, who lives on a nearby farm.
This foal represents the first successful pregnancy by Penn Vet using the advanced reproductive technique of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), which involves injecting a single sperm into a mature egg. This ICSI embryo was transferred to My Special Girl in early April.
My Special Girl, an 11-year-old Thoroughbred, was donated to the New Bolton Center’s herd of horses used for teaching veterinary students. The egg for the foal came from a Thoroughbred-Cleveland Bay cross mare. The sperm originated from frozen semen from a long-deceased Thoroughbred-Quarter Horse cross stallion that was part of the Hofmann Center’s teaching program.