NEW rules must be created banning cloned horses and their offspring from national and international competitions following the creation of a clone of famed US show jumper Gem Twist, says the British Show Jumping Association (BSJA).
In a joint statement, BSJA chief executive Di Cornish and her predecessor Jacky Woods said: “There are no rules at present that prevent cloned horses competing within our sport, but it could be deemed to be taking away the spirit of the game if they are allowed to do so.
“National and international rules will need to be reconsidered in light of this advance.”
A spokesman for the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) said the subject had been raised by a number of federations, but as no clones were yet of competition age, no decision over rules had been made.
The cloned foal, informally known as Gem Twin, has been created by a French firm, Cryozootech, to join the small but growing number of competition horses who are being reproduced using the latest technology.
Gem Twist, who won two silver medals at the 1988 Olympics with Greg Best, was euthanased in 2006 at age 27.
His chest tissue was used to produce the clone, who belongs to Gem’s breeder, Frank Chapot. The colt is in France, but Chapot hopes eventually to import him to the US to start a breeding business.
The clone preserves the Bonne Nuit bloodlines that produced many great jumpers, including Gem Twist’s sire, Good Twist, Riviera Wonder, Night Owl and Miss Budweiser.
“The last of that line is gone. To have that back again would provide the world with some wonderful jumpers,” said Chapot, a former US show jumping coach.
Read this story in full, including William Funnell’s views on the situation, in today’s Horse & Hound (25 September, ’08