When Facundo Pieres and Ellerstina faced off against Adolfo Cambiaso and La Dolfina in the epic final of the 117th Argentina Polo Championship, it was the first time ESPN broadcast a high-goal polo tournament in HD. But as spectacular as the visuals were for polo fans around the world, the most remarkable bit of technology may have been the ponies themselves.
Argentine breeders have embraced a biotech revolution of sorts in the breeding process which is boosting the quality and quantity of Argentine polo ponies. According to Matias DiMartino at Quenonino, the process is very simple with the seed of the stallion placed in the uterus of the donor mare. After a week the egg is recovered and, if fertilized successfully, is transplanted into the uterus of a surrogate mare.
While the average polo mare used to give birth to 8-10 foals, now they can contribute to 30 to 40 offspring while still continuing to participate in competitive polo matches. In order to meet global demand, the number of Argentine horse breeders rose 80% over the past decade, and the number of Argentine polo ponies exported quadrupled from 2006 to 2010, according to equine consultancy, Unicorn S.A. (Full Story in Spanish)
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