Adolfo Cambiaso’s clones were all experiments, but one of them, the ninth replica of Cuartetera, turned into an experiment within an experiment—and one that has been successful beyond belief. In her debut high-goal season the mare was crowned best-playing pony of the national championships on two continents: the Argentine Open (40 goals) and the U.S. Open, which was then 26 goals.
Most people wouldn’t find that so surprising for a Cuartetera, but this was different. Unlike all the other Cuartetera clones, the mare known as “B09” is as a product of America, sort of. All the clones were created and foaled at Crestview Farm in Aiken, South Carolina, but B09, unlike the others, was not transported to Argentina to be trained. Instead Cambiaso and famed geneticist Alan Meeker, partners in Crestview Genetics, had decided to test a hypothesis. Could a clone schooled in America, with American methods, perform as well as clones that were trained at Cambiaso’s farm in Argentina?
Here, in the first of our three-part series, Meeker tells how they got their answer.
IN HIS OWN WORDS: ALAN MEEKER
“B09 was the experiment. She intentionally was not sent to Argentina. She spent the first two years of her life at my farm just being a horse. She basically grew up in the pasture, and the only thing we did with her was ‘citizenship training,’ like we do with all the clone foals. All we teach them to do is come to the gate, stand there quietly while we put a halter on them, and have good manners while you walk to the barn. It came easily to them. Every single one of the Cuarteteras has the same quiet, kind, pleasant demeanor. They’re just nice to be around. If you ask for a correction on the lead line, they obey.
“At 2 years old we sent her three miles down the road to Owen Reinhart, a former 10-goaler and fantastic trainer. The idea was to get the best program we could from an American’s point of view and train B09 up that way and see what we’ve got. Owen finished her in two years.
“I intentionally did not talk to Owen about B09 in that timeframe. I’d go look at her from time to time. When she was 4, I asked Owen, ‘Now that you’ve had this much time with her, what do you think? What kind of horse is she, what kind is she going to be?’ Owen said point blank, ‘Alan, my job was to not mess this horse up. This horse knew what it was doing from the word go. The moment I got on, it knew it was going to be a champion. All I did was just guide it down its own path.’
“Then B09 came back to Crestview and played the 2016 fall 12-goal season under a couple of my pros. She performed astonishingly. I remember her doing incredibly well in those tournaments, especially in the finals when one of the pros was playing. No one really understood just exactly the horsepower we had because we certainly didn’t tell anyone we were playing B09. We won very handily, and a lot of it had to do with two chukkers the horse was able to play in the final. So I thought maybe we had something special.
“The first time I played her, it was a little intimidating because I knew what I was getting on. But it was like she was an old soul and knew exactly what she was doing. She was very patient with me. I knew that what I was on had much more abilities and capabilities than I was able to handle. She did everything I asked for, she did everything at speed, she did everything with quickness and intelligence. It was one of the better rides I’ve ever had in my life.”
Next in Part 2: B09 proves herself under Cambiaso in the second phase of the experiment.
Photography: Ramon Casares | Cresview Genetics | Irina Kazaridi | Ramon Casares | Crestview Genetics