Cloned Horses To Compete In The Olympics

KetaKeta Member
edited August 2012 in General Interest
Equestrian Group Clears Way For Cloned Horses To Compete In The Olympics

Will the London 2012 Games be remembered as the last Olympics of the pre-clone era? The answer is maybe — because the group that oversees equestrian events has given its OK to allowing cloned horses to compete in the Summer Olympics.
As National Geographic reports, the Fédération Equestre Internationale once banned cloned horses from participating in the Olympics. But the group based in Lausanne, Switzerland, changed its stance this summer.
If you're thinking, "They don't clone really horses, do they?" — brace yourself, because the first successful horse cloning took place in 2003. And in 2006, NPR reported on a cloned horse in Texas. The FEI estimates that more than 110 horses were cloned in 2010.
And if that makes you think: "So why change now?" — consider that the minimum age for a horse to compete in Olympic equestrian events is 9 (2003 + 9 = 2012).
The option of cloning horses is particularly attractive to breeder and trainers, who sometimes castrate their animals to make them more trainable. But castration also takes away their long-term value as contributors to the gene pool — and keeps breeders from capitalizing on their winnings.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetorch/2012/08/07/158373631/equestrian-group-clears-way-for-cloned-horses-to-compete-in-the-olympics

Comments

  • RachelRachel Member
    edited August 2012
    Hmmm I wonder if the cloned horse was a gelding and then it's clone was a stallion would they be able to breed cloned horses? I'm interested in seeing this, i don't know why people would be offended by it, it is rather interesting how genetics work and how similar these horses are to their originals. Would be neat to see a long dead horse brought back to life once more or a retired one. Lots of possibilities
  • carolinarkansascarolinarkansas hot springs, arkansasMember
    If you could clone....imagine little Forego's.....little Kelso's.....little John Henry's....just imagine....
    Mr Haskins had an article on Bloodhorse...10 greastest geldings of all time....those were his....and my....top three...
    But whole article is worth a look.....just to see who the other 7 are...sure to start a discussion
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  • @ Rachel, if you cloned a male horse, the resulting foal would be intact unless he was also gelded. Presumably, said horse could be used for breeding, but the offspring would not be clones. They'd just be normal foals.

    @ Pati, they'd clone a supremely talented horse in order to get another supremely talented horse. You could never get an exact duplicate, as the cloned horse's environment and training wouldn't be identical to its parent, but at least the inherent physical aspects would be predictable.
  • KetaKeta Member
    I am so glad to see the discussion & ideas this has sparked.
    Now, TB's are still old technology.
    So, will this step into the future encourage TB to rethink their process?
    Do we want to see a Zenyatta clone, even if she is never raced?
    So many interesting possiblities.
  • caseycasey any racetrack with camera in handMember
    You have to remember, a cloned horse does NOT mean that it will match the performance of the cloner(???- clonee???) Too many variables of how the genes will match up, plus, they're being cloned in a petri dish... And, the worst part? Clones don't live that long compared to their real life cloner.. or whatever you'd call it.

    I LIKE that TBs still require live cover. I dislike that QH use AI and surrogates because I've seen the results of the "love" of type with the Impressive link to HYPP, as well as other issues, (tiny feet, navicular, laminitis). I WISH that american breeders would think more about breeding strong and swift instead of just swift...

    And, no Keta, I don't want a Zenyatta clone- there can only be one. The closest we can come to her is her get. I love the thought that she is unique.
  • Casey you must have read my mind!
  • I don't know why you would want to clone anything. I don't agree with cloning. There is only one of kind horse why try to duplicte your one of kind. Like casey said the clone probably won't be as good of horse has the parent. As for breeding who gelded the animal therefor you should need breed the clone because you have no idea how good the clone is. When you gelded you took why right to breed the animal in the frist place.
  • edited August 2012
    Well I look at it this way, if Lava Man could have been cloned as a stallion, why shouldn't he? A horse like him would make a fine contribution to the gene pool. Genetic altering could be done as well, say, you could clone Cigar but make him fertile so he could breed.
  • The is no way of knowing if the clone would be as good as Lava Man or Cigar. I say you would have to race the clone to find out. Then there is no way to know that the foals of the clones would be worth anything. It is expensive to probably clone why takes the risk in getting foals that are not great and not being able to payback the cloneing bill. I say if nature didn't want a horse to breed then it shouldn't be messed with leave things the way they are. Each horse is one of a kind lets not try and make copys of the same horse.
  • edited August 2012
    Charmyane James cloned Scamper, her world class barrel racing gelding. He was gelded and working in the stock yards when she bought him, he took her to numerous NFR rodeo championship. Clayton, his clone, doesn't look like him, has more white, but has alot of the same attitude/characteristics. Clayton's get are just now starting to barrel race, so will be interesting to see if they have Scampers ability.
    AQHA doesn't allow any cloned offspring to be registered, so any of Claytons offspring can't be registered as AQHA. Of course, no horse has to be registered to compete in NFR barrel racing or any barrel racing.
  • KetaKeta Member
    Good discussions & posts!
    My concern is that we do not know the long-term effects of cloning.
    At this point is time, there is simply not enough data.
    Dolly the cloned sheep was bred (I think) & had a normal lamb.
    But, do we really do not know what will happen over several generations.
    So, for me, love the ones/horses we have.
    But, I will be watching with interest when the clones are in the Olympics.
    And, so will others. Comparisons of original to clone will be talk of the commentators.
  • carolinarkansascarolinarkansas hot springs, arkansasMember
    Did not know about Scampers...interesting
    ...
    if Cigar was cloned.....would not his clone be sterile too?
  • caseycasey any racetrack with camera in handMember
    Good discussions & posts!
    My concern is that we do not know the long-term effects of cloning.
    At this point is time, there is simply not enough data.
    Dolly the cloned sheep was bred (I think) & had a normal lamb.
    But, do we really do not know what will happen over several generations.
    So, for me, love the ones/horses we have.
    But, I will be watching with interest when the clones are in the Olympics.
    And, so will others. Comparisons of original to clone will be talk of the commentators.
    Dolly also only lived about 6 years. She died of "old age" at 6.. I know of several sheep who lived into their teens, so 6 years isn't "old" in sheep lives.

    I look at it the same way I look at genetically modified food. What is it being genetically modified for? Is it being done for the "good" of mankind or for the "good" of the huge farming conglomerates. There's no long term data to say whether or not GMO foods are going to be healthy for us in the long run, same with cloning. Is it going to help or hinder. Need more research.
  • I remember the story about Dolly and it really made this whole cloning thing scary to me. I am no expert, but the idea of it makes me nervous! I remember reading also about a couple who spent a fortune to clone a beloved dog, a lab I think, and were successful, but I don't know of an update on how he's doing. Definitely agree there needs to be more research.
  • caseycasey any racetrack with camera in handMember
    Well I look at it this way, if Lava Man could have been cloned as a stallion, why shouldn't he? A horse like him would make a fine contribution to the gene pool. Genetic altering could be done as well, say, you could clone Cigar but make him fertile so he could breed.
    Lava Man was a gelding when he raced, which means either they didn't like his personality (aka the great John Henry who was gelded to make him "nicer" lol) or his conformation wasn't up to par and they didn't want to pass it down, or wasn't seen as a good stallion prospect

  • Hickstead comes to mind when I think of a horse that we should clone. He was a stallion and I'm not sure if they breed them while they are still active in jumping/dressage. But I would have liked to see him pass on his genes, he was tragically taken from us in a not so private way. By the way, his rider was in the Olympics this year along with Big Bens rider Ian Miller. I thought that was neat, they were in the Canadian team
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