A Horse, of Course
with Don Blazer
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Cloned horses…something we absolutely don't need.
Horses as a prescription for better health…something we absolutely ought to pursue.
Let's look at the positive first.
President Ronald Reagan once said, "There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." It ain't medical science, but it's truth.
We've known for a long time there is something special about seeing horses, handling them, smelling them, riding them, working up a sweat grooming and caring for horses……is it mystical, magic or medicine?
There may not yet be a definitive science for therapeutic riding, but I've seen the miracle of "horse medicine" given to children and adults with mental and physical limitations…they may not be able to speak in sound and words, but they speak directly to the heart through their eyes and smiles, and attempts to touch and caress the horse.
With the government spending billions on Medicaid and Medicare, why isn't therapeutic riding (and horse petting) approved for funding-not just by the government, but by medical insurance companies as well?
England's National Health Service last summer took a "Pets, Not Pills" approach to keeping people healthier and found it is a better way to utilize limited health care dollars. One plan allows long-term sick to buy a dog in the hope it will keep the new pet owner out of the hospital and thereby save money. And it does.
It's a fact that pets don't just make us feel good, they are good for us by getting us to exercise, be social, they help eliminate depression and increase general well-being (If you have a horse you know how true that is). It's been proven that those with pets have fewer doctor visits, shorter hospital stays and greatly reduced prescription drug use.
So let's get some health insurance companies to provide money to pay for a "prescription to be a horse lover." I'm suggesting the "prescription money" be used to pay rescue facilities and therapy riding facilities so they can open their doors to more of those without horses. The "patients" would handle, groom, care for and ride horses-not own them. This plan would be healthy for both horses and humans.
And we'd be helping to solve the problem of what to do with many of our unwanted horses, rather than complicating it by "cloning" more horses.
The idea that you are going to "clone" a champion and the clone will be a champion is ludicrous. If geneticists are smart enough to be able to clone a horse they ought to be smart enough to know it is not the physical form that makes a champion.
But apparently they aren't that smart-or maybe they think they can make a lot of money selling clones to horse lovers who aren't that smart. A Texas company-ViaGen Inc. of Austin-claims the cloning of two champion cutting horses at $150,000 apiece and multiple clone pregnancies signaling the arrival of a commercial horse-cloning industry.
The chromosomes, genes, DNA and cells which make up a horse have never themselves, made a champion. Championships are in the spirit of the horse, in the energy, in the heart.
Champion horses learn from their mothers, their environment, their trainers and their caretakers. Clone all you want, but you can't duplicate experiences, days, weather, food, challenges, playtime, playmates and the guiding hand of grooms, trainers and other caretakers.
Look at what a mess science created with embryo transplants. Take an embryo from a great mare and put it in a surrogate mother and what have you got…..nothing that science promised you get. You get a foal, but not a true son or daughter of the great mare, because the foal is always the result of the influence of his mother…you get a high price tag for what is supposed to be a superior foal, but what is usually a very inferior foal having been influenced by a less than desirable surrogate mother. You get a disruption of supply and demand of business, which in the long run hurts all horsemen and all horse businesses.
Science ought to see what exists, explain it, study it, let us know how it works and repair problems when it can.
But science ought to stay out of the creation business!