Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Two clones from Olympic dressage horse Rusty

 Recently it was announced that there have been two clones from Olympic dressage horse Rusty, 
the Olympic horse ridden by Ula Salzgeber and made especially famous by the musical freestyle show below...

It looks like both clones have a white hind sock, one on the right, and one of the left. Update: Though I had thought Rusty was solid chestnut, I've been decisively corrected by an anonymous post, and the video doesn't lie. Rusty has white, making the foal markings all the more cute. At any rate, I've read  that markings are not "written into the genetic code" the way that some traits are. In Texas, two cloned foals, genetically identical, were dramatically different heights at maturity, and their markings were different. Between nature and nurture, nurture has more influence than had been thought...

I'll be interested to see how these two horses develop. While I love Rusty, the Latvian Warmblood, I'm not sure he would be among my first choices for cloning.


  1. This will be a very interesting experiment to see whether or not the clones actually do carry on all the basic traits of the original. And what about temperament and "trainability?" Can the attitude and personality of the original be passed on?

    Hope the story gets coverage enough so we can follow its progress.

  2. The original Rusty clearly has a left hind white sock and star. So not quite "solid chestnut."

  3. That's funny - I have identical twin girls (so the original "clone" lol!) and they are mentally, emotionally, and physically quite different. They look alike but there is a significant height/weight difference, they are night and day different in personality (one's snuggly and sweet, the other is a spitfire!), and one is a calm baby, the other is very emotional. It'll be fun to see them grow up and change as they get older!

  4. Epigenetics cause the differences that you see in physical traits like coat color. A scientist at Univ of Georgia cloned the first dairy cows, after which(with all the calves lined up) said I probably should have cloned black coat pattern differences! Recent studies are showing that these'epigenetic' events are not confined to just the fetal developmental period but can occur later in life .

  5. Rusty's freestyle is my all-time favorite; it always gives me goosebumps! So I was thrilled to see he was cloned, and hope to see more of these "offspring" in the future.

  6. I had not seen that freestyle before and I have to say, I absolutely LOVED it!! The music was wonderful and went so well with Rusty. He looked so relaxed and obedient and happy... and holy cow, what a rider Ulla was/is! I know the test of a really top-notch rider is when you don't even notice them. All your attention is focused on the horse because the aides are so subtle and the rider so skilled s/he is almost invisible... and that's Ulla. WOW!

    As far as cloning, I am really anxious to find out if the first Gem clone turns out to be any good at jumping. Very, very interesting!

  7. I heard that the Gem clones will not be competed or jumped, only bred -- although I'm sure they'll jump him/them behind the barn one night. I'm guessing that after the cost of cloning and raising, they just want to get their investment back -- if the horses turn out not to have the heart or skill for jumping, they'll lose out big time...

    Again, I'm speculating.


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