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Horse born with no tail
THE MANE ATTRACTION: Striking Sorrento is one of the few horses in the world born with no tail

A foal that stunned the horse world when she was born with NO TAIL has grown into a striking filly living her best life with the family that bred her.

When Sorrento was born, no one knew what fate awaited the chestnut foal, or how she would cope with a significant part of her anatomical equipment missing.

But now, three years later, MumsHaynet can report that the gorgeous filly is happy, healthy and blessed with a potential home for life at Hill Valley Stud Farm in Waddington, Lincs.

Recalling the surprise delivery in April 2021, breeder Darren Hardy said: “She was three weeks late and it was a hard delivery for the maiden mare, so we grunted and pulled and then, after the foal emerged, we both took a moment to catch our breath.

“I next went to check whether the foal was a colt or a filly, and had a look and saw she was a filly. My next thought was how come I can see she’s a filly – and then I saw why.”

Realising that a foal with no tail might actually be a very real problem, Darren immediately called the vet.

“I worried that we might have to put her down, but she was on her feet suckling in a normal space of time for a foal that’s just been born, and though she was down on her fetlocks, this was nothing uncommon.”

Foal born without tail
PIN THE TAIL ON THE HORSEY: Sorrento as a foal. Darren says missing tails are more common on donkeys

When the vet visited Hill Valley, X-rays were carried out and they showed that while Sorrento had a few vertebrae after her pelvis they stopped short of forming a tail. Even so, it didn’t seem to present any handicap to the foal.

“In three weeks, she was out in the fields and running around like a cross between a deer and rabbit,” recalled Darren, aged 42.

“Because she hasn’t got a tail behind her, lifting her bum, her bum almost scuttled under her. But in every other way, she was fine, bucking and jumping puddles, and if she was that fine, we knew we had to give her a chance.”

Darren has been breeding foals at Hill Valley since 2001 and though he started as a keen amateur, the business has grown, along with the standard of his stallions, to become a respected stud offering quality jumping and eventing youngstock.

However, in more than two decades of breeding he had never once heard about horses missing tails unless it was a result of injury.

Horse born with no tail
BRED FOR SUCCESS: Darren produces foals for jumping and eventing at Hill Valley Stud Farm

Intrigued by the farm’s new addition, Darren scoured the internet for information about tailless horses, only finding two other mentions globally. However, since Sorrento’s birth, he has been contacted by a breeder in America and one in Ireland asking for advice after their foals were born with the same condition.

“It’s actually more common in donkeys, which is apparently where ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ comes from,” said Darren.

Despite concerns that the condition might be hereditary, Sorrento’s dam has had another foal since – and all was intact.

“I did wonder, but she’s from popular showjumping/eventing lines so I thought it can’t be hereditary as there would be more around.”


While Sorrento has remained a small horse, touching 15.1 at three years old, her progress has been unhindered by the lack of a tail with only a few hygiene issues to show for her unique look.

“In the winter we have to cut the tail flaps off the rugs because she can’t obviously lift them up to poo,” explained Darren.

“She was also all pink on the skin of her vulva which worried me in regard to sunburn, but it has now changed to darker skin and she doesn’t burn.

“Other than that, she is pretty normal and I need to think about getting her backed sometime this year.”

Although Sorrento was bred to be sold, Darren says she might “not jump a stick,” but if she ended up as a pleasure ride ridden by wife Anna, that would be fine by him.

“She’s a very sweet horse with a good temperament so we shall see how it goes,” says Darren.



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