Gem Twist

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Gem Twist
SireGood Twist
DamColdly Noble
Maternal grandsireNoble Jay
FoaledJune 12, 1979
DiedNovember 18, 2006
BreederFrank Chapot
OwnerMichael Golden[1]
TrainerFrank Chapot
Gem Twist
Medal record
Silver medal – second place 1988 Seoul Individual jumping
Silver medal – second place 1988 Seoul Team jumping
Pan American Games
Silver medal – second place 1987 Indianapolis Team Jumping

Gem Twist (June 12, 1979 – November 18, 2006) was a world champion American Thoroughbred show jumping horse registered under the name Icey Twist.[1] Bred by equestrian Frank Chapot,[2] Gem Twist had an incredible career at the Grand Prix level. The gelding is the only horse to have won the "American Grand Prix Association Horse of the Year" title three times,[3] and is regarded as one of the best show-jumpers in history.[4] Two genetic clones of Gem Twist were subsequently foaled after Gem's 2006 death: the first named Gemini, and later a second named Murka's Gem.


Gem Twist had an extensive show jumping career between 1985 and 1997 under three different international level riders: Greg Best (up to 1992), Leslie Howard (1992-1995), and Laura Chapot (1995 onward).

With Greg Best[edit]

Gem Twist began winning early in his career with rider Greg Best, including the 1985 USET Talent Derby as a six-year-old. He went on to win his first two competitions at the Grand Prix level, the Grand Prix of Tampa and the Grand Prix of Florida, in 1987. He finished the year with his first American Grand Prix Association (AGA) Horse of the Year honor, as well as a team silver medal from the Pan American Games.

Best continued to ride Gem Twist for several years with great success, including earning two silver medals at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. In 1989, Gem Twist was named the American Grand Prix Association Horse of the Year for the second time.

In 1990, he was named the "World's Best Horse" at the World Equestrian Games in Stockholm. Best injured his shoulder in 1992, however, and the ride was turned over to Leslie Burr Howard (then Leslie Burr Lenehan).[3]

With Leslie Howard[edit]

Howard continued the gelding's career, winning both another AGA Horse of the Year title and the AGA Championship in 1993. The team qualified for the 1994 World Equestrian Games, but an infection occurring at the games disqualified Gem Twist from the championship round and put him out of competition for almost a year.[3]

With Laura Chapot[edit]

In 1995, after a lengthy recuperation period, Gem Twist came back into the show ring with Laura Chapot. Although Chapot was still a "Young Rider" (21 and under), her first year with Gem Twist was very successful. She won the World Cup class at the $100,000 Autumn Classic, earning her the Budweiser Rookie of the Year award, and she rode the horse to his third win at the Budweiser AGA Championships. Her second season continued to be successful, with wins at three World Cup qualifying classes, including Tampa's Volvo Grand Prix of Florida—whose starting field of more than eighty horses made it the largest grand prix jumper class of all time.

She finished Gem's career with a win at the World Cup USA East League Championship (which was held at the same venue at which he won his first Grand Prix with Best nine years earlier). Chapot formally retired Gem Twist at the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden on November 1, 1997.[3]

During his career, Gem Twist accumulated more than $800,000 in prize money. In 2002, Gem Twist was inducted into the United States Show Jumping Hall of Fame.[5] He was euthanized November 18, 2006 at the age of twenty-seven.[2]

Gemini, the first clone of Gem Twist[edit]

In early 2006, Practical Horseman magazine first leaked a report that Gem Twist was to be the subject of a cloning experiment by a then-undisclosed international laboratory.

On September 15, 2008, the French genetic bank, Cryozootech, announced the successful birth of a healthy clone of Gem Twist.[6][7] As was Gem Twist, the foal was born bay, with a star, and sock on his right front, and is expected to dapple or grey-out in relative short order.

Gemini, at 10 months, was moved from the Chapot family's Chado Farm in Texas to Frank Chapot's Neshanic Station farm in New Jersey. Gemini is showing his Gem Twist lineage, he's beginning to become a grey, as his coat shows flecks of white hair, and jumps fences over 3 feet high.[8]

Gemini's siring career[edit]

In May 2012, it was revealed that Gemini has successfully sired his first offspring.

He was bred to the Thoroughbred mare Otherwise Engaged, who gave birth to a healthy chestnut colt.[9] The colt was born at Park Avenue Stables in Bucks County PA in March 2012, and his name is The Proposal. Any offspring of clones are not considered Thoroughbreds as the breed requires natural procreation for the bloodlines to qualify for the stud book. However, the clones would be eligible for Olympic competition.[10]

Murka's Gem, the second clone of Gem Twist[edit]

Horse & Hound magazine confirmed the birth and existence of a second clone of Gem Twist.[11] This was nicknamed Gem Twin (originally, a nickname also given to Gemini). He was sold to new owner Olga White, and the Chapot's website confirms that he will be stationed at stud in Europe, under the management of Peter Charles.

On July 5, 2012 it was revealed that the new colt's official name would be Murka's Gem[12] and that there were no plans to compete him, only to have him stand at stud.


Pedigree of Gem Twist [13]
Good Twist
New Twist
Bonne Nuit
Royal Canopy - 1914
Bonne Cause - 1915
Sisterly Love
Great War - 1938
Brave Bonnie - 1933
Ethnarch - 1922
Ellanvale - 1926
Flying Salmon
King Salmon - 1930
Ballyhurry - 1922
Coldly Noble
Noble Jay
Double Jay
Balladier - 1932
Broomshot - 1926
Noble Nurse
Count Fleet - 1940
Gallant Nurse - 1946
Eskimo Princess
Arctic Prince
Prince Chevalier - 1943
Arctic Sun - 1941
Ultra Royal
Royal Note - 1952
Ultra - 1947


  1. ^ a b "Gem Twist, U.S. Star, To Take His Final Bows". Finn, Robin. The New York Times. 10/28/97. Referenced January 2, 2008.
  2. ^ a b "Show Jumping Legend Gem Twist Dies". Equisearch. Referenced January 2, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d "The Legend of Gem Twist" Archived 2007-01-21 at the Wayback Machine. Chado Farms. Referenced January 2, 2008.
  4. ^ "Glorious Gem Twist Euthanized" Archived 2010-12-04 at the Wayback Machine. Hale, Cindy. Horse Channel. 12/4/06. Referenced January 2, 2008.
  5. ^ "Gem Twist". American Show Jumping Hall of Fame. Referenced January 2, 2008.
  6. ^ "Clone of top jumper Gem Twist born | Horsetalk - International horse news".
  7. ^ Clone of Show Jumper Gem Twist Born Referenced March 6, 2011
  8. ^ Can Gemini duplicate Gem Twist's stellar career? Referenced March 6, 2011
  9. ^ "Gem Twist, ET clones produce first foals - News". 4 May 2012.
  10. ^ Genaro, Teresa. "Cloned Horses Good Enough For The Olympics, But Thoroughbred Racing Says "Neigh"". Forbes. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  11. ^ "Cloned horses may now compete says FEI - Horse & Hound". Archived from the original on 2012-07-08. Retrieved 2012-07-05.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-09-23. Retrieved 2012-07-06.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Gem Twist". All Breed Pedigree. Referenced January 2, 2008

External links[edit]