At Home With Cruising’s Clones

Ireland has a great tradition of breeding champion horses in all disciplines. If there’s one horse that stands out as a supreme influence on Irish Sport Horse breeding it’s Cruising. The Irish equestrian community was saddened to learn of Cruising’s passing in 2014 – but buoyed to learn that he had been cloned in 2015. I visited the two gorgeous clones, named Cruising Arish and Cruising Encore, at Hartwell Stud in Co. Kildare, Ireland for a short feature in Horse&Style magazine.

Owner/breeder Mary McCann hopes that the clones live up to their famous predecessor – although she’s realistic that while genetics plays a large role in a horse’s performance, training and environment are also key factors. There are some striking similarities between the clones and the original Cruising. Both the clones and the original Cruising spooked at yellow barrels. Coincidence? I think not…

Speaking with Mary, it’s evident that she’s always been a pathfinder in this traditional industry. Cloning hasn’t reached widespread acceptance, especially in Ireland’s breeding circles. The technology is ever-evolving, so it’s possible that we’ll be seeing an increasing number of clones in the show ring. The FEI (international equestrian federation) reversed their ban on clones in international competition in 2012, so the door is open and only time will tell if equestrians choose to go down that path in great numbers.