Gemini, the clone of show jumper Gem Twist, will turn 1 on Sept. 15. He’s living at Frank and Mary Chapot’s Chado Farm in Neshanic Station, N.J.
“It’s hard for me to remember what Gem was like at that age, but Gemini is very intelligent. We do very light training with him on the longe line, and he picks things up right away,” Frank said.
The Chapots worked with the equine cloning company Cryozootech to create Gemini in order to carry on classic Thoroughbred show jumping bloodlines. Gem Twist, who won individual and team silver at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games and was named best horse at the 1990 World Equestrian Games (Sweden), dominated U.S. show jumping in the late 1980s and early ‘90s.
The Chapots stood Gem Twist’s sire, Good Twist, who won prolifically in the United States and abroad with Frank in the ‘60s. Good Twist’s sire was Bonne Nuit, who also sired top jumpers Riviera Wonder and Miss Budweiser, and is noted as one of the most influential show jumping sires in the United States.
“The Bonne Nuit horses had great records and were great jumpers. But there were none of them left, and now there is,” Frank said. “I remember growing up as a kid, every time you turned around, there was another Bonne Nuit that was a super jumper and winning. It’s a shame to let that run out. I had the last Bonne Nuit stallion, Good Twist, and I had a lot of success with him. I’d like to keep the line going.”
At first glance the resemblance between Gemini and Gem Twist might seem fleeting, but the Chapots see it clearly.
“He’s marked just like Gem was. He’s a chestnut, which Gem was as a foal, and he has the same one white sock and white star that Gem had,” Frank said. “He’s a little too young to tell what he’s going to be now, but from what we can tell, he looks like Gem.”
The Chapots plan to break and train Gemini, as well as keeping him intact for a breeding career. “If he has a performance career, that’ll be a plus. But he’s the last of the Bonne Nuit line, and that’s what’s most important,” Frank said.
Time will tell what Gemini’s legacy will be, but in the meantime, Frank is enjoying watching the young carbon copy grow up. “I’ve got a new grandson and this is like having two of them!” he said.