Rare horse is bred in St Albans

PUBLISHED: 18:39 28 November 2013

St Albans ultra-rare stallion Pearl of Peace, a pearl-coated Spanish horse, pictured with

St Albans ultra-rare stallion Pearl of Peace, a pearl-coated Spanish horse, pictured with "horse-mad" shipping lawyer Christine Kershaw

Photo supplied

Having cast pearls of wisdom to help negotiate the release of crews held captive by Somali pirates, a St Albans woman has unexpectedly cultured a rare pearl, in the form of a horse.

Shipping lawyer Christine Kershaw, who lives on the fringes of St Albans, specialises in mediating for the release of those held hostage by pirates.

When she wants to take time out from her hectic job, she relaxes with her horse-breeding hobby.

And last year Christine hit the jackpot when an extremely rare stallion, a golden “pearl-coated” Spanish horse was born – the only one of his kind in Britain.

The unusual green-eyed horse, Pearl of Peace, is an Andalusian “golden horse” with a spectacular shimmering gold coat.

Nicknamed Oro, Spanish for gold, at the yard, his coat reflects the breeding which has given him an extremely rare double pearl and single black gene – which Christine admits is partly down to good luck.

She added: “Although his father has a double pearl gene, you never know until the birth whether you’ve been lucky enough to get a golden horse.”

Basic coat colours of chestnut, bay, brown and black can be diluted by at least five genes, including the recessive – and rare – pearl gene.

Pearl of Peace has become an internet sensation, with over 200,000 “likes” on social media site Facebook.

Once trained, he could be worth around £180,000 and when he is at stud in two years’ time, his services will fetch up to £2,500 a time.

Christine said that while currently standing 15.1 hands high (155cm) he should grow to 16.2 hands (167.6cm) upon reaching full maturity.

And it appears the stallion has already sensed he is a little bit special.

Christine described him as, “very full of himself. He gives you a look. But he is very well behaved, and very friendly.

“He is used to standing around and having his picture taken.”

Pearl of Peace is being fed milk pellets, as the active stallion does not gain weight easily.

Christine’s horse-breeding hobby is a world away from her day job mediating between shipping firms and ruthless Somali pirates.

The 57 year old liaises with ship owners, the insurers, press, security guards, police and arranges go-betweens with the pirates.

She also flies out to a port of refuge, usually Oman, to meet ships and hostages, after the pirates have released them.

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I had been wondering if she would be there. I had encountered what looked like the remains of her feasting along the path. The telltale circle of piled feathers that indicated a pigeon devoured, plucked breast up, the carcass taken for final pickings by its captor.

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