Quarter Horses on the Verge of Entering the Final Frontier
With NASA’s discovery of the TRAPPIST-1 system, plans are in the works for getting American Quarter Horses into space.
By Cari Klostermann, spring 2017 AQHA communications and digital marketing intern | April 1, 2017
AQHA 20-year breeder James Wittenborn was more than intrigued when NASA announced the discovery of seven terrestrial planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system. Wittenborn says he has always been a pioneer within the American Quarter Horse industry, and his mind immediately began to work through the details of getting Quarter Horses on a planet outside of our own.
Wittenborn reached out to AQHA for assistance in developing his plan. AQHA Chief International Officer Anna Morrison says she is excited about the possibility of getting the Quarter Horse breed into space.
“The American Quarter Horse is a hardy breed that can quickly adapt to any conditions,” Morrison said. “As long as there is a stable atmosphere with oxygen, I do not see why Quarter Horses could not thrive in TRAPPIST-1.”
Wittenborn has put great effort into turning this out-of-this-world idea into a reality. He has pre-purchased 500 acres within the TRAPPIST-1 system from NASA with the agreement either he or a living relative is allowed to pick the specific location after further mapping has been completed. The AQHA International Department has begun work on securing funding for intergalactic Quarter Horse outreach that will focus on building on-planet leadership, constructing the necessary infrastructure and forming the first AQHA intergalactic affiliate.
Morrison is contemplating in-system needs that will need to be fulfilled within the TRAPPIST-1 system and has been working closely with NASA officials to be updated on the discovery of any domestic animal breeds that should be prepared for or natural grains and grasses that could be used for feed.
“AQHA has always been eager to share our breed with countries around our planet,” Morrison said. “With the discovery of the TRAPPIST-1 system, we must enthusiastically prepare ourselves for sharing our magnificent breed on a galactic scale as well.”
The TRAPPIST-1 system is located 40 light years from Earth. While this sounds like an impossible distance, scientists are confident that light travel, as well as hypersleep, are only a few years in our future. Wittenborn realizes there is a chance he won’t be completing this fantastic voyage himself, so he has turned to his children and future grandchildren for support of the plan.
Wittenborn hopes to be alive to witness his grandchildren board the space shuttle bound to TRAPPIST-1 with vitrified embryos from his earthly ranch in hand.
“This dream is bigger than me. Shoot, it’s bigger than my entire family,” Wittenborn said. “This is the dream that will put the American Quarter Horse on the map on a galactic scale.”
With gravity levels within the TRAPPIST-1 system unknown, the distance we would be able to throw you with this story is unknown. Happy April Fools!
If you loved this story, share it with your friends on social media!