Saturday, December 27, 2008

Should Tamarillo be cloned?

Tamarillo is a famous 3-Day event horse who has won various titles including the Badminton and Burghley horse trials. Recently his breeders (at Biddesden stud in Hampshire UK) Mr and Mrs Finn Guinness expressed their desire to clone their champion steed. This may seem like a touch of vanity per say, but on closer inspection their could be a greater vision at work in their wishes.

Regular horse racing over the flat is generally contested between 3 year old male and female throughbred horses, and the blood lines are carefully preserved owing to the fact that the male horses are never castrated. For almost all other types of horse competition the horses that obtain the highest level are geldings (castrated males). The reasons for this are unclear, but it seems that perhaps stallions stop trying so hard when they reach maturity or perhaps they have a a greater sense of self preservation, or perhaps even the testosterone stops the brain from discipline! Either way, one they are castrated they can never be bred from.

Mr and Mrs Finn Guinness are interested in cloning Tamarillo with the specific aim to not castrate him (cited in horse and hound). With race horses the better and more succesful horses are the ones that tend to have better progeny. Whole generations of the greatest horse lines are therefore lost. No one can claim to ride a horse who's forefather has won Badminton as they have never been Stallions.

The idea of playing God has in someways been meddled with many century ago, afterall the thoroughbred horse itself was selectively bred by man by racing Arabian horses across the Salisbury plain. It is ironic as this is not many miles from where Tamaillo was himself origionally bred. there have been offers for this to happen but it is not free. I say we help out and make donations to the Clone Tamarillo fund.

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As always



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