The mum of showjumping twins has bred ‘twin’ foals – created in essentially the exact same way her IVF daughters were conceived themselves.
Daisy and Issy James-Wright, eight, are already talented riders who compete are part of the national team, and have been dubbed ‘ones to watch’.
Their mum Katherine James, 47, wondered how they would afford to buy two identical top quality horses when the girls get bigger, and outgrow their current ponies.
So she bred two embryo transfer foals from her former top ride – using frozen sperm, artificially inseminated into the same pony twice, creating two embryos which were removed and put into separate surrogate mums.
Vinvictory and Vinabelle were born earlier this year – on May 6 and June 6 – but will both have the official birth date of January 1, to follow competition riding conventions.
And just like their owners, they are fiercely competitive with very different natures, who love nothing more than tearing around the paddocks at their home near Cardiff.
Daisy and Issy were born via IVF after Kath and husband Steve Wright, 56, struggled to get pregnant for three years.
It is hoped the two foals will grow into quality 148cm ponies – the ideal height for jumping – for her daughters to use in their teens.
Katherine, a keen competitive rider herself, said: “It’s twin foals for my twin girls.
“We really did for the foals, what we did for having my own girls.
“We took the embryos out of Issy’s mare and put them into two separate surrogate mums.
“It’s pretty dangerous for a horse to carry twins, so it was the safest way to have twin foals.
“It also allowed Issy to be able to ride her pony, while we’re waiting to the foals to be born.
“I bred them having in mind that they would be ready for both girls aged 14 or 16.
“To buy them, you are talking £100,000 each, so we had to have the foresight to produce our own. We couldn’t afford £200,000 – we’d need two of them.
“The girls are so competitive, and for their age they are really, really good.
“They are horse obsessed. They aren’t going to give up in a few years, so I thought I would create my own for when they grow up.”
Daisy, who wants to be an actress or a fashion designer when she grows up, said: “I was really excited when I found out we we’re getting twin foals because I hadn’t had a twin foal before.”
Issy, who dreams of becoming a vet, added: “I’m most looking forward to jumping over big fences with my foal and helping me and Daisy raise them up really good.”
Katherine sought help falling pregnant after three years of infertility problems, which saw her get IVF from a clinic in Las Vegas.
She had three embryos made from her eggs and her husband’s sperm – resulting in non identical twin girls Daisy and Issy.
The keen rider had 28 horses at one point – but a combination of family bereavements and having the girls saw her sell all but one.
But when she got back into riding a few years ago, the girls embraced the hobby too, and now they have four horses and eight ponies in their stables.
The girls joined British Showjumping last January, and have since been selected for the Welsh team at the Home Pony International shows in Ireland and Scotland.
They compete against each other – regularly swooping first and second prize, leaving Katherine and Steve to console the runner up, while congratulating the trophy winner.
Both determined to continue competing at a high level, Katherine knew she’d have to get her hands on two 148 horses – but couldn’t afford to buy them fully grown.
So she used frozen semen from Veni Vidi Vici, a champion horse she sold five years ago, which was twice artificially inseminated Issy’s mare Back in the Black at a stud farm in Shropshire.
The two embryos – created a month apart – were then put into surrogate mares, and Daisy’s bay colt was born on May 6, with Issy’s chestnut girl arriving exactly a month later.
Issy got to choose who got the first pony, because her horse was the mum, but graciously let Daisy go first – because she’s the oldest by two minutes.
Katherine added: “Foals are always special, but to have them from our own mare, and a stallion we owned, and them being twins, makes it just that bit more special.”
Daisy said her “cheeky” foal loves to chase its sister. Issy said she’s looking forward to caring for her foal but admitted she knew it was going to take a lot of work.
“It might take a while for them to get used to us, so I think we’re going to have to be very patient,” she said.