There was no night mare for a seven-year-old Jedburgh lass as she sees a foal being born in a barn

An animal-mad seven year-old helped deliver a foal at the weekend after she spent a sleepless night in a barn.

By Paul Kelly
Monday, 10th May 2021, 1:41 pm
Scarlett-Rose Ballantyne with her newborn foal, Bellendene Buttons. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)
Scarlett-Rose Ballantyne with her newborn foal, Bellendene Buttons. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)

Scarlett-Rose Ballantyne’s gran Alison Allan runs the Nenthorn Equestrian Centre in Kelso and spends as much time as she can riding with her pony there.

When Alison decided to sleep overnight in a camper van in a barn to ensure that her mare Mulberry safely delivered a foal, little Scarlett-Rose begged to join her.

And on Saturday night the excited youngster was there to help as the foal, named Bellendene Button, arrived safely into the world – with a little help from the wide-eyed youngster.

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Scarlett-Rose with her gran Alison and the new foal. (Photo: BILL MCBURNIE)

Alison said: “When it was newly born it was lying with its head on Scarlett’s lap. That was a really special moment when the mare was lying down really tired after foaling and the wee one just put its head down on Scarlett’s lap. She just sat and stroked it for about 20 minutes.

"Scarlett has ridden since she could sit and has her own pony and attends the Lauderdale Pony Club. She would ride every day if she got the chance. She loves animals and at two years old she could name every single pony that was in the riding school.”

Alison said her granddaughter was mad-keen to join her when she announced her plan to sleep in the barn.

She said: “I told her I was going to put my camper van in the barn beside the mare and sleep there with my camera and police it every second.

Scarlett-Rose Ballantyne. (Photo: BILL McBURNIE)

"’Oh, nana, can I stay as well? She was dead excited and when we went to bed at nine o’clock on Saturday she wouldn’t sleep. Her eyes were out on stalks watching the mare and every five minutes she was sayng ‘nana, nana, she’s lying down now’, ‘nana, nana she getting up now’.”

Ironically, Scarlett-Rose, who lives in Jedburgh and attends the town’s grammar campus, almost missed the experience of a lifetime after she fell asleep a short time before the foal arrived.

Alison explained: “Such was in such a deep sleep I struggled to wake her. When Scarlett eventually staggered out of the camper van the foal’s head was coming out.

"She was desperate to help so she came and held a leg. I told her that when the mare pushes to hold the leg and not to let it go back again when she stopped contracting and, bless her, she was hanging on for grim life.

"Very quickly the foal was born and Scarlett was in a bit of a daze because she’d been fast asleep so she was standing there saying ‘I must get my camera’ and she ran back into the camper van and came back out and pointed the camera in the wrong direction because she is only seven and sleepy, so I helped her adjust that.

"Eventually we went back to bed in the camper van after midnight and she was looking out the window and wouldn’t go to sleep.

"I was telling her to go to sleep because she needed to be strong to do lots of things for it in the morning. It took ages to get her back to sleep.

"Lots of people go their whole lives with horses and never see a foal born, so she is very lucky.”