In Part 1 of our series on his ground-breaking experiment with the ninth clone of Cuartera, genetics expert Alan Meeker talked about B09’s start in Aiken, South Carolina, under a top American who trained her up to medium-goal. Here in part 2, Meeker describes the second phase of the experiment, when B09 comes under the tutelage of Adolfo Cambiaso and stuns the world in her first high-goal season.
After her first four years at my farm in Aiken, B09 went to Florida to get legged up by Adolfo Cambiaso and his crew for the U.S. Triple Crown. I went to Valiente, and before I walked around the corner to say hi to Adolfo and Bob [Jornayvaz], there was B09. I stopped and saw a chicken in her stall. I thought, “Oh my God! What is wrong with this place? They can’t keep the chickens out of the stalls.” It worried me because all I could think about was disease and this and that and the other. So I quickly went around the corner and said, “Adolfo, there’s a chicken in B09’s stall! We’ve got to get it out! Hurry!”
Adolfo started laughing and said, ‘No no no no no, that’s supposed to be there. The horse is not used to being in a stall, so she got nervous. Our vet said to put a sheep in there, but she kicked the sheep. Then we got a goat, and she kicked the goat. Then we put a chicken in there. She likes it. She lays down and sleeps with it. It keeps her calm.”
I said, “You must be kidding!” Adolfo shook his head. “No, this is what we do.” So Adolfo gently led B09 into the Argentine way of [a horse] having a companion.
Going to Wellington was a big adjustment for her. It was very different from the life she had the first four years of her life at my farm in Aiken, where she grew up mostly in the pasture. The only time our horses are in a stall is when they’re being fed their grain ration during the season or being saddled up for a game or have to come in to be treated for a little bruise.
The way we in the U.S. deal with horses is that we treat them like horses because they’re not playing at the highest level. When they’re not playing at the highest level we can do this, and they don’t have to be kept in stalls. That changed when B09 went to Wellington. A horse’s life is different in the high-goal season. It has to be. They’re so amped up that you can’t turn them out together. After the season you let them out to run and play.
When B09 went to Valiente, she got very nervous since she was always in a stall just like the rest of them. She was not used to this way of life. She had to have that chicken all the way through the U.S. Open final, when she won best-playing pony. There’s a famous photo of her at the awards ceremony with a chicken sitting on her back.
I said to Adolfo, “Ok, send her back to South Carolina now.”
He said, “No, no, no, Alan. This horse has to go to Palermo.”
NEXT IN PART 3: The experiment reaches its conclusion when B09 plays her first Argentine Triple Crown.