Dressage Champion Rusty Euthanized

Rusty, who was 25 when he was euthanized last week, has two clones to carry on his genetic legacy.
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World champion dressage mount Rusty 47, long-time equine partner to Germany’s Ulla Salzgeber, was humanely euthanized last week after he’d lain down in his field and was unable to rise, according to Salzgeber’s professional website.

The 25-year-old gelding had been retired since the pair took home the team gold and the individual silver at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. The culminating victory followed a string of team and individual international dressage medals starting in 1997.

Rusty was pastured for the past seven years along with his companion pony Motte in Hungary, where Salsgeber’s “beloved” horse was “allowed to fall asleep very peacefully.”

Rusty’s genetic legacy lives on, however, through two young clones of the gelding. Earlier this year, French equine cloning company Cryozootech announced the one-year birthdays of “Rusty Clone 1″ and “Rusty Clone 2.” The yearling stallions were respectively foaled and raised at the Cryozootech facilities in France and at Puntaci Farm in Gainesville, Texas. Rusty’s young clones could therefore provide a way for breeders to soon benefit from the deceased gelding’s genes through breeding—in both the U.S. and Europe

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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