Crestview Farm in Aiken is part of an international horse cloning empire that is producing genetically identical copies of the some of world’s most talented polo ponies.
Cuartetera, Colibri, Aiken Cura and Raptor are just a few of the equine athletes that have been duplicated, and many more will be cloned in the future.
Just because they are exact copies, however, doesn’t mean that the clones automatically will be as successful as the originals were.
According to Alan Meeker, the founder of Crestview Genetics, it’s important for the clones to grow up in environments that are as similar as possible to the ones that their parents experienced.
“The more that we can replicate everything that happened in the original horse’s life, the greater the chances are that the clone will have the same quality as a competitor,” Meeker said.
Some clones are raised on the same farms where their parents were raised. Many are broken and trained by the same people. They also get the same feed that their parents did.
“If a horse that we cloned had a favorite dog that was his buddy and that dog is still around, we will bring in that dog so it can be around the clone,” Meeker said.
Based on how the clones are responding, those strategies seem to be working.
“Because of the protocols we’ve put into place, 85 percent to 90 percent of the clones that we’ve had so far are as good as or better than the originals,” said Meeker, a Texan who plays polo regularly in Aiken.
Meeker has seen evidence that the memories of the parents are passed on to the clones.
“One horse that we cloned was deathly afraid of garden hoses, and each of the clones was scared to death of garden hoses,” he said.
An article about Meeker and Crestview Genetics appeared in the August edition of Vanity Fair magazine.
Aiken Polo Club Results
USPA Officer’s Cup 8-Goal Tournament
Skaneateles defeated Kenny Ray 12-11 on Oct. 14; Duckhill/Peachtree defeated Skaneateles 11-9 on Oct. 16; SD Farms defeated Skaneateles 9-8 on Oct. 18; LBL Polo defeated Duck Hill/Peachtree 10-8 on Oct. 18; Kenny Ray defeated LBL Polo 9-7 on Oct. 21; Semifinals – SD Farms defeated LBL Polo 12-10 on Oct. 23; Semifinals – DH/Peachtree defeated KRPF/Good Thunder 12-11 on Oct. 23; Final – SD Farms defeated Duck Hill/Peachtree 9-8 on Oct. 25.
USPA Corey Cup 6-Goal Tournament
Livin the Vision defeated Guarisco Gallery 9-8 on Oct. 16; Woodlawn defeated Heritage Farm/Kings Row Coffee 9-4 on Oct. 16; HF/Kings Row Coffee defeated Livin the Vision 9-6 on Oct. 18; Woodlawn defeated Guarisco Gallery 9-4 on Oct. 18; Caza Azul defeated Guarisco Gallery 6.5-3 on Oct. 20; HF/Kings Row Coffee defeated Casa Azul 7-3.5 on Oct. 21; Aiken Saddlery defeated Livin the Vision 9.5-6 on Oct. 22; Aiken Saddlery defeated Casa Azul 5-4 on Oct. 23; HF/Kings Row Coffee defeated Aiken Saddlery 5-4.5 on Oct. 25; Woodlawn defeated Casa Azul 9-4.5 on Oct. 25; Final – Woodlawn defeated King’s Row Coffee 8-7 on Nov. 1.
USPA Fall Challenge 4-Goal Tournament
Whiskey Victor defeated M3 Polo 9-6 on Oct. 14; Beverly Equestrian defeated M3 Polo 8-4.5 on Oct. 16; Livin the Vision defeated Brookland 8-2 on Oct. 17; Flying Hawaiians defeated Brookland 7-5 on Oct. 20; Woodlawn defeated Gold Dragoons 7.5-6 on Oct. 22; Gold Dragoons defeated Beverly Equestrian 10-8 on Oct. 24; Cedro Azul defeated Whiskey Victor 8-1.5 on Oct. 24; Gold Dragoons defeated Whiskey Victor 9-3.5 on Oct. 25; Livin’ the Vision defeated Flyin’ Hawaiians 9-6 on Oct. 29; Woodlawn defeated Cedro Azul 11.5-4 on Oct. 29; Cedro Azul defeated Beverly Equestrian 6-4 on Oct. 30; Pony Up defeated Brookland 11.5-5 on Oct. 30; Livin’ the Vision defeated Gold Dragoons 7-4 on Oct. 31; Woodlawn defeated Pony Up 5.5-3 on Nov. 1.
USPA Cup of Aiken 6-Goal Tournament
Peachtree defeated Kenny Ray Personal Fitness 13-12 on Oct. 30; Good Thunder/Hyde Park defeated Duck Hill 11-9 on Oct. 30; Blackberg Ranch defeated Duck Hill 9.5-9 on Nov. 1.