In 2012, horse enthusiast Mary Walker became the oldest woman in the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo (NFR). She and her bay gelding, Perculatin, nicknamed “Latte,” performed impeccably at the competition, taking home the title of world champions in barrel racing and a new earnings record of one million dollars.

This would be an incredible accomplishment for any 52-year-old – but for Mary, it was a miracle. Not long after losing her only son in a car accident in 2011, Mary was in a terrible riding accident. Latte fell on her, breaking bones and causing her to be wheelchair bound. With time, physical therapy and a great deal of persistence, Mary was able to work her way up to crutches, then to a cane, and finally back into the saddle. Less than a year later, she was the proud title-holder of world champ, and was inducted into the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in 2013.

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Posted by on Monday, January 13th, 2020 in

Science has come a long way since “Dolly the sheep.”

Once, only a science fiction pipe-dream, now you can clone your precious pets: your dog, your cat or your horse. And you can start the process right here in Central Texas.

The Cedar Park-based ViaGen Pets & Equine offers genetic preservation and cloning services for customers all over the globe.

“What that really means is we can preserve the DNA of the beloved cat, dog or horse and we can provide a client with the opportunity to move forward with cloning at any later time,” said ViaGen’s Codi Lamb.

Lamb says think of it as producing an identical twin to the original animal. “A lot of clients do reach out to us when they’re going through a difficult time, whether it be a terminal illness diagnosis or coming to terms with the loss of a pet.  Our services really just provide them hope of maybe not completely losing that pet,” she said.

 

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Posted by on Tuesday, December 24th, 2019 in

A woman who cloned her horse twice is planning to get two more copied foals. Mary Walker, 60, cloned prize-winning bay gelding Latte to create Ditto in April 2016 and Junior in January 2019. She was so thrilled with her genetically identical horses she and husband Byron, 61, have arranged for two more cloned foals, expected in January 2020. Mary, from Ennis, Texas, hopes to have ten cloned horses in her stables one day. She said: ‘I would love to have as many as I possibly can. I love Latte. I love everything about him. I’d like to have ten but that’s probably not feasible. ‘If I could get two or three more, I would be happy.’

 

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Grieving pet owners are forking out thousands of pounds to clone their beloved pets in a bid to keep their memories alive.

Cloning gives owners the chance to extend the loving bond they shared with their pet – but with an identical twin animal.

ViaGen Pets and Equine is able to clone cats, dogs and horses by taking tissue cells from an animal which are then frozen and stored.

Once the pet owner is ready to begin cloning, the company uses a small portion of cells to form an embryo which is then transferred into a surrogate dog.

ViaGen offers Genetic Preservation for a cool $1600 (£1200) with cloning services ranging anywhere from $50,000 (£38,000) to $85,000 (£65,000) depending on the animal.

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Posted by on Monday, December 9th, 2019 in

A Texas family in Las Vegas for the National Finals Rodeo is in the business of cloning horses.

“She’s my heart horse, she’s my best friend,” Lexie Russell said about Crash. “I was there when she was born.”

Crash is the child of a cloned stallion.

“We’ve cloned now thousands of livestock — cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, deer,” Blake Russell said.

Russell is the president of ViaGen Pets & Equine. The company has cloned more than 500 horses.

“All of the horses that I ride or train are by a cloned stallion or have cloning somewhere in the process of making that possible,” Lexie said.

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