Project X, an attempt to clone my beloved Lipizzan stallion Marc, began in 2008. In 2010, we had Mouse for a precious three months. When he died of colic unrelated to cloning, Dr. Katrin Hinrichs at Texax A&M wanted to keep trying. I agreed and went all in with six pregnancies in 2011-2012. After the devasting loss of five of them, I really had no hope that the fetus carried by the difficult mare Luna would make it and he was our last chance. He surprised us all.

About Marc | About Mouse


Mouse and Marc

 

Pluto III Marcella NT2
Mystic

born May 17, 2012

Click image to enlarge

 

At 29 months

Mystic was born about 10:45 Thursday night May 17, 2012, at the University of Florida Large Animal Hospital. Delivery was quick and without complications. Because recipient mom Luna is difficult and unpredictable, Mystic was removed to another stall soon after birth. He looked really good but he was given nasal oxygen, feeding tube and IV catheter as precautions. Ultrasound soon showed that he had blood in his bladder, seemingly from his umbilical remnants (deja vu all over again from Mouse and Magic). He would go to surgery at 13 hours old.

He was lightly sedated to prevent him straining to urinate and to give him time to stabilize in the outside world.

 


It was hard to tell how big he was lying on the foal bed but the very long legs and big joints were obvious.

Attempt to stand
Video 16M

 


Experienced brood- and nurse-mare Itzy, owned by Dr. Martha Mallicote, has been standing by for weeks to foster Mystic.

 

After successful surgery, he was gaining strength by the minute. During an afternoon bed change, he decided to stand on his own.

Video 1M

^ Itzy meets Mystic | Dr. Chris Sanchez balances Mystic later in the afternoon as he stands for 15 minutes. ^

May 19.  This is indeed a big strong boy. He weighed 132 pounds on the way to surgery compared with 106 pounds for Mouse at the same age. Today he's up to 136 pounds.

< Dr. Sarah Reuss, tech Courtney Williams, resident Dr. Louise Husted, student Sharon Villabona.

Breakfast
Video 5M

Walking around
Video 7M

Dr. Reuss snapped him briefly naked during a bandage change. >


May 21. Mystic is more interested in bouncing around than in learning to nurse.

Video 37M

He has the getting up and down thing perfected. He's very proud to keep all his legs underneath him.

 


 

May 22. He's got it! The team got Mystic nursing this morning. Dr. Reuss sent this video of the milestone.

 Video 1M
   

May 23. I got to see Mystic nursing today. He's good at it but has not mastered the cross-over to the other teat, somewhat annoying to Itzy.

Video 18M

May 24. This morning Dr. Reuss started thinking that Mystic could come home soon. The only obstacle is that he and Itzy have not really bonded. I thought about it all day and, in the evening, proposed we bring Mystic home without her. This means hand-raising him and, in the beginning, feeding him every two hours around the clock. With two young stallions in the barn, the prospect of not housing a mare with them seems a lot more appealing than sleep. There is a whole lot more to raising him to be a well-adjusted adult but I have faith we can do it.

May 25. After much discussion, everyone is OK with the idea of my rearing Mystic as a bucket baby and the transition is already in progress. To come home, he needs to drink his milk from a bucket and get used to milk replacer. For me to continue any treatment he may need at home, he needs to accept being confined in the mousetrap and to wear, when needed, a harness made from a draft horse halter. No problems!

     

 Drinking milk from a bucket


In the mousetrap


A draft horse halter as a harness

Mousetrap Video 3M
     

May 27. Mystic went for his first walk outside today. He was pretty good but Dr. Sanchez occasionally had her hands full.

 Walk outside Video 35M

May 28. With tropical storm Beryl sitting over north Florida today, we will bring Mystic home tomorrow.

 Mystic is Home!

May 29. Spotty bad weather with Beryl moving away didn't stop us from going to get Mystic. Dr. Martha Mallicote and the techs maneuver him onto the trailer.

Loading Video 10M

 


Getting home Video 29M 
 

 



Seeing Double
Mouse at 15 days old May 20, 2010, and Mystic at 14 days old May 29, 2012

Later in the afternoon, Mystic went for his first walk outside. Like Mouse, he is on restriction from his surgery, with hand-walking for the next four weeks and another six weeks in a small pen. Mystic has a star and is about four inches taller than Mouse was at the same age but otherwise is his mirror image.

Fisrt walk Video 24M

Land O' Lakes and the Stars Align

Mystic was being sent home on Land O' Lakes Mare's Match milk replacer. I ordered some through Brevard Farm & Ranch but soon realized it wouldn't arrive before I ran out. I found a source on line that proved to be the plant in Wisconsin and placed an order to be shipped ground. I got a call from them asking if that would arrive soon enough and I thought so. UF should have enough to get us through to delivery. They did not! I stopped on the way home with Mystic to place an order on line but made a mistake that prevented it from going through. I didn't see tne mistake until later, placed the order anyway, and was called right away to be told that I was too late for the shipment to go out the same day. I had to figure SOMETHING out.

Dear friend and long time farrier Jerry Hofer called that night, having seen on this page that Mystic was coming home. It turns out that his son Charlie works for Land O' Lakes and might be able to help. Charlie called the next morning, held my hand, offered alternative suggestions if we couldn't find the product close enough to go get, and got me started calculating Mystic's future needs. While we were on the phone, the shipment arrived!

Jennifer and Sarah at the Land O' Lakes plant went to the mat for us, getting UPS to come back and pick up the shipment, knowing how important it was for Mystic to keep being fed the right milk replacer. I will be forever grateful to them and to Charlie.


May 30. It didn't take even a full day for Mystic to show interest in the ball.

Playing ball Video 4M
 

May 31. He's already pretty good at playing with it!

Playing ball Video 20M

Magnum thinks it's fun to play with the other end of Mystic's lead rope. Cheech gets in the way - something we're trying to prevent since he doesn't move so fast any more.

Tug of war Video 12M
 

 

Probably our only problem with Mystic is that he doesn't know he's a horse. Almost all his interaction has been with people. Without a horse mom to show him the ropes, Peanut's giving it a try. At social hour tonight, Mystic played with Peanut for the first time.

Playing with Peanut Video 8M

June 1. Each day brings a new milestone. This morning it was trying to crop grass. When one's neck is too short to reach the ground, lie down!

 Cropping grass Video 10M
 

June 2. Or - kneel to investigate. This was not accidental, a failed attempt to lie down. He's done it repeatedly.

Kneeling Video 10M

Social hour is now carrying over a little to when the boys are outside. When Peanut or Prince stop by the fence, Mystic says hi.

Social hour Video 10M

Peanut and Mystic


Prince and Mystic

 
Peanut and Mystic


June 4. Socializing with Peanut is now Mystic's favorite evening activity, especially since they nibble on each other's itchy spots.

Mutual grooming Video 29M

June 8. Our next goal is to get Mystic started on some solid food. I made a gourmet platter for him this morning but he turned it over before sampling much.
 

Clockwise sweet feed, softish pellets, alfalfa leaves, grass clippings, clover clippings. Center, milk pellets.

And what did he like? The cinnamon sugar pastry sticks I eat and give to the big boys when they come in for lunch.

 


June 11. In the outdoor mousetrap for the first time, Mystic got his first sponge bath.

First sponge bath Video 29M
 


Another deja vu moment
Mouse's first soap bath | Mystic's first sponge bath

June 12. I picked up Mystic's feet for the first time.

First feet Video 4M

June 15. Mystic had his first encounter with the hose and bath brush.

First hose rinse Video 12M

June 19. Got milk? Mystic continues to be the poster boy for Land O Lakes' Mare's Match.


June 22. A collision with Peanut at play time this morning resulted in my having a mild concussion and a broken rib. I knew I couldn't hang on to Mystic if he bolted while we were hand walking so, even though this is earlier than ideal, he's going out on his own.
     
 

Dr. Brad Newman checked him over and stood by while I turned Mystic out.

First time loose
Video 16M

 


June 23. Peanut is the BEST big brother!

Peanut and Mystic
Video 10M

Mystic does some bouncing when he's out but not a whole lot.

Bouncing
Video 22M


 

He was so sticky, it was time for his first soap bath.

First soap bath Video 39M 

June 24. Since Mystic seems determined to lick dirt when he's out, we moved his pen to a spot with less of it (and more things to play with).

New pen Video 20M
     


July 10. Long-time farrier Jerry Hofer is coming today so Mystic went out early, before playtime with the bigger boys. They got going anyway and so did Mystic.

Triple Play Video 20M

 


It is still uncanny to see the similarities between Mouse (left) and Mystic (right), as well as the differences, as Jerry trims their feet for the first time. 


Mouse's first trim July 6, 2010

Mystic is far bigger and earns some solid smacks for being naughty with his fourth foot, settling right down to have it done.

Video 45M


Mystic's first trim July 10, 2012

July 11 and 12. Peanut's hoppy ball is a big hit with Mystic. Unfortunately it popped in Peanut's next play session.

Video 1 5M | Video 2 7M

 


July 16. I broke down and ordered the boys an EquiSpirit Ultimate ball. It has a heavy cordura cover, a replaceable inner bladder of heavy PVC, and is billed as almost indestructable. These videos are from the second day of play with it when Peanut wasn't terribly interested and Prince wore himself out running laps before he got his chance.

Peanut Video 15M | Prince Video 4M | Mystic Video 4M

 


July 17. Mystic is two months old today! He weighs 335 pounds, is 44.5" tall at the withers and his butt is 46" high. He is enormous. To celebrate the day, I gave him a bigger pen, which he loves.

Big pen Video 4M
 

Magnum SO wants to play with Mystic and I have to start letting him. His nature makes him want to be submissive to the "bigger dog" and I hope he can learn not to be without getting hurt.

Magnum and Mystic Video 4M


July 22. Today two not just dear friends but members of the UF team that brought Mystic into the world and assured his survival came to visit. They are Dr. Malgorzata Pozor ("Goshe") and Dr. Sarah Reuss. They haven't seen Mystic except by web cam and in photos since he left Gainesville at two weeks old. They are very pleased with his progress, including his insatiable desire for scratching. Peanut and Prince get lots of attention too.


Kit, Mystic, Sarah, Goshe

July 27. This is a REALLY big day for us! Mystic is ten weeks from surgery and OFF RESTRICTION! He can go out in the big paddock and generally be a normal foal. He doesn't do much beyond what he usually does turned out but there are a few fun moments. Peanut frets like he is Mystic's mom.

Big paddock Video 21M

July 28. Mystic doesn't really need all the space in the big paddocks, at least not yet, so I opened up more of the back yard for his entertainment. He's going out before we play with the bigger boys so he can play too. Otherwise he is still supervised since he wants to eat dirt and that's not good.

Play time Video 8M

August 1. This boy is a TANK! And maybe getting a little tubby. He's approaching 400 pounds and, though I can feel his ribs, you can't see them. He shouldn't grow TOO fast so he's on a diet. He loves his milk and I've cut him back from 25 quarts a day to 23 - he's still gaining 25 pounds a week and isn't eating much solid food yet. He'll eat what I hand feed him and his favorites are English muffin and Cinnastix. That's not exactly the horse food he should be eating. He has a little hay and sweet feed as a last resort.

 


August 12. Mystic now has the run of the whole back yard and his favorite thing is playing with the big ball. He's gotten almost as good at running it as the big boys. He hasn't figured out how to climb up on it yet.

Big ball Video 13M


August 17. This is our biggest day yet! Mystic has made it to three months old without complications of his surgery, injury or illness. He weighs 440 pounds, is 47.5" tall at the withers and a whopping 49" tall at his butt. He's getting the hang of solid food after a lesson in moving granola bar pieces from the front of his mouth to the back to chew when I realized he didn't know how to do that. This opens up a whole new world!


 

August 22. Two more milestones today - getting all four boys in the same shot and Mystic's first time in cross-ties. He was perfect, picking up all four feet and getting rinsed and flysprayed like a pro. I am so proud!

 Cross-tied Video 14M
He has been rubbing his itchy chest, accounting for the bare patches seen in the video.

August 31. Peanut, Mr. Mom, babysits Mystic and plays with him across the fence. Peanut's range is limited by mud puddles left over from rain in the tail of TS Isaac and the cross-fence. He stresses when Mystic goes out of sight.

Playing Video 14M


September 17. Mystic is four months old today! In the last month, he has made the transition to big boy food and big boy feeding schedule. He's also been on a diet, getting 2/3 the calories he could have for his weight. He's the same weight as a month ago but a little taller and longer, so slimmer. Excess weight could put stress on his rapidly growing bones over the next months so the diet continues until all the blub is gone.


September 29. Mission accomplished! Here is photographic evidence that Mystic has lost the weight we all wanted him to - actually not loss but no gain with increased height. He can now have a little more hay and Source, a wonderful supplement I have fed for many years that contributes to great coats, feet and better metabolism of nutrients. Just look at the bigger boys for the testimonials.
 

October 10. Now that we have finally dried out and it's no longer dangerous, we are encouraging the boys to exercise more. Peanut SO wants to play along the fence or engage in mutual grooming.

Video 19M


Mystic and Prince
October 14. Some days we let Prince be a lawn pony and put Mystic in the east paddock for his last hour of morning turnout. Both bigger boys are great baby-sitters. It's amazing how well three young stallions get along. 


Mystic and Peanut


October 17. Five months old today, Mystic may look like he's made of parts from different horses but his legs look really good! If you think he's a little over at the knees, he's not. The joints are that big.

 


October 21. I hooked up the horse trailer today for loading lessons. With halter and lead, and a little encouragement, Mystic got right on but I didn't have the camera in hand. A few minutes later he got on with just carrot bites.

 Video 18M

< And got on again by himself. I praised him, got him off and . . .

He got on again! I had to close the trailer to keep him out. >

 


Halloween. It's tricks and treats as the boys pose in their costumes. They loved it and so did I! Mystic wanted to be a gator since he was born at UF. I tease Prince(ss) a lot about sounding girlie when he squeels for his grain so it's tutu and tiara for him. Magnum is most certainly a very hot dog and Peanut, notorious for escaping his stall, is Houdini complete with straight jacket and chains.
 

 
   

November 19. I love my boys! And one of the most fun things to do with them is, after play time, gather them around me for treats. They are sweet with other, with me and even with Magnum who could so easily be stepped on.


January 1, 2013. On really cold mornings, the boys wear sheets when they first go out, to help the balance between the nice warm barn and the outside temps. They are really good about having them put on and keeping them on, somewhat surprising! 

 

January 2. Mystic has started licking Magnum on a regular basis and they both love it, reminding me of the cat Marc used to lick every day. I worry about Magnum getting stepped on but I can just hope Mystic is careful!

Video 75 M

January 17. On his eight month birthday, Mystic does not have his front feet in a hole -- he's that butt high. All his parts are mismatched -- big head, little neck, big belly, long back, big butt. If I didn't know what he'll eventually look like, I might be worried. He's precious regardless.
 

January 29. Mystic is learning to play with Mori the Muck Basket. Peanut, playing with another Mori in the background, gets Mystic blasting around.

Video 77 M

February 8. Mystic goes in the west paddock several late mornings a week. Today he plays with three toys.

Video 50 M
 

February 10. He is becoming the best roller of Mori of the three boys and is starting to kneel on him, obviously learning from Peanut, but isn't the best yet at carrying him.

Video 16 M


February 24. Having the camera in hand when all three boys are playing is rare but it happened today.

Boys and Their Toys Video 37 M
   



March 7. Mystic is now 54" tall at the withers, 56" at his butt and weighs about 630 pounds. He looks pretty fancy in motion.

 
 
 

 
March 17. For his 10 month birthday, Mystic got to share some Spanish moss with Prince and Peanut, all their favorite delicacy, and a play session with the big ball. This is as close as he can come to getting up on it so far.

April 28. There are times when Mystic looks like a young man instead of a gawky little boy.
 

 

And then he looks like a baby again, attacking
the big ball.


May 9. The boys are destroying the old fences with their play so it's time for a change. The new fences have thicker boards, posts closer together and woven wire instead of welded. They are also higher where the boys interact. Mystic poses watching the crew work down in the corner of the paddock.
 
The crew made rolling temporary fences while they worked so the boys could still go out. Mystic took his sunbath in spite of compressors, nail guns and saws.

May 17. Mystic is one year old today! He’s 57.5” tall at the butt, 55” at the withers and weighs 700 pounds. He is growing and maturing before my eyes. His summer coat is really pretty, almost bronze. He's gotten very adept at playing with Mori the Muck Basket.

Video 107 M


June 22 and 23. Dr. Katrin Hinrichs, world renowned expert in horse cloning from Texas A&M University, came to see Mystic for the first time since he was an embryo sent for transfer. We spent the weekend playing with all the boys and brainstorming raising young horses since she has a foal at home too.

< Mystic and Katrin

 

The boys assemble for a snack of Spanish moss.


Katrin wanted to see all the boys move, especially Mystic. His trot is breathtaking even though he's 2.5" butt high. A palm frond got him (and the other boys) going and accounts for the camera shaking as I beat it on the ground. Videos of Peanut and Prince longeing (plus Prince being ridden for the third time ever) and reacting to the palm frond are on their pages -- Peanut and Prince.

Mystic's trot video 44M

  September 8. The boys keep the tree branches and moss trimmed to a perfect height. They also hang out together at the gates. Peanut is also there, peeking over Mystic's back

 

October 17. My dear friend and veterinary ophthalmologist extraordinaire Dennis Brooks and his girlfriend Bo Reich came for a visit. We spent time with and were entertained by all the boys.

< Dennis, Bo, Mystic and Peanut

 

 

Bo is a terrific photographer and took all these shots except the one above.

Mystic and Dennis >


Mystic . . .



Peanut and Prince ^ | Mystic >


Prince has his eyes checked

  October 31. UF's Dr. Sarah Reuss stopped by to see us today, having not seen Mystic since July of 2012. Our boy has grown a lot!

 


January 2014. Mystic is always cute and always precious but now has occasional flashes of handsome. He has incredible bone for a baby, not a surprise, and gorgeous movement, also not a surprise, but still has a way to go to grow into himself and balance out. He's still three inches butt high.

 

February 23. Mystic will NOT walk through a puddle when asked but played in this one, very reminiscent of Marc.

Video 21M

March 26. I was taken today by how much Mystic is starting to look like Marc at times. This image of Mystic is fun to compare with the one of Marc meeting Mouse.

March 27. I went out to do some weeding in the back yard and took a plastic bag with me. First Mystic reacted like a wild man. Then he turned the bag into a toy. Both videos are really funny.

 Video 1 61M

Video 2 31M
 

April 10. The boys are, at times, getting more aggressive playing over the fences. Peanut especially goes for Prince without regard for the hot wire. For all our safety, I'm installing new fences six feet from the existing ones where the guys could interact, creating lanes where the boys can't reach one another. All gates are being replaced with heavy duty ones from Kencove.
     

 

May 17. Mystic is TWO years old today! He weighs almost 1000 pounds and is 14-3 at the withers but is 15-2 at the butt. He obviously has more growing to do. 

June 6. He makes a new friend in 3 1/2 year old Leah.


June 22. Dr. Katrin Hinrichs came for our second annual visit near Mystic's birthday. You can see how much he's grown in a year from the middle photo, especially apparent when he makes himself really tall.

 
<2014 | ^ 2013 | 2014 >
 

Also June 22. Mystic plays in and on a sprinkler. That's Katrin's voice in the video.

Video 16M

October 25. Mystic loves playing with Mori the Muck Basket as much as Peanut does.

Video 43M
 

October 27. He is finally starting to look like a horse instead of a collection of odd parts, rather handsome!

     

October 26. Mystic had his first mini longe lesson. It was just a couple of minutes at the walk but quite a milestone.

October 29. I just had to video (from the barn window sill) his second lesson.

Video 144M

     



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