Formation history and transformation
Count Rostopchin started to create his breed of warmblood horses three decades later then Orlov. His crossings were a little bit easier; mostly he used Arabian stallions and mares of English thoroughbred. Primary training and tests of horses in racing have made Rostopchin’s horses quick and hardy. But their exterior was a little bit worth then exterior of Orlov’s horses.
In the middle of the 19th century studs of A.G.Orlov and F.M.Rostopchin were sold in the State treasury. First time the pedigree work with Orlovskaya and Rostopchinskaya breeds was proceeded separately, but then, considering affinity of these horses on many qualities and to destination, have been gradually incorporated in one breed which has received the name Orlov-Rostopchinsky.
This domestic breed got both an acknowledgement and high appreciation on exhibitions in Russia, Europe and America; and almost full disappearance and oblivion. Only vigorous measures accepted under pressure of the horse-breeding public, have allowed to save breed those years. Save for the hardest years of its history of tests, the military years of First World War and especially hard years of followed for it civil war. Almost all livestock of Orlovo-Rostopchins was lost in a hearth of these wars. The first years of Soviet Russia also didn’t become the years of revival of breed. The work on restoration of the breed began only in thirtieth years in horse-breeding centers of Ukraine (Limarevsky, and then Dubrovsky).
Already among the first horses born in these studs were some stallions and mares with excellent exterior. Many experts and visitors of pavilion “Horse breeding” at All-Union agricultural exhibition were delighted by them. However new war, fast capture of territory of Ukraine by German army – and again almost full disappearance of almost restored breed of Russian Riding. Just few horses, was in the summer of 1941 at an exhibition in Moscow, were kept and allowed to begin a new stage of complex work on restoration of breed.
That almost hopeless process has been begun in the hardest conditions of wartime, in severe climatic zone of Northern Urals Mountains in Krasnogvardeysky stud of Sverdlovsk region. In a short time there were collected horses of necessary breed and type (except for the best representatives of breed – stallions Buket and Braslet and several purebred mares, there were added some horses sent earlier from studs of Ukraine and Kazakhstan, hybrids received from them and some Akhal-Tekins, Arabians and Thoroughbred horses with the relative type and quality). It was possible due to improbable efforts of enthusiasts and director of the North-Ural trust of horse-breeding centers Andrei Sokolov.
Persistent work of the collective has brought expected results. Russian Riding horses again took place in our horse breeding and began to extend in some areas of the country.
But time left no hopes for blossoming of the breed: by the groundless decision of a guidance of horse breeding organization of the country all livestock of horses of Krasnogvardeysky stud were sent to the Kursavsky stud in Stavropol region. There Russian Riding had no serious attention and after two years were sent to Labinsky stud in Krasnodar region which almost right after reception of this livestock had been reoriented in a pedigree direction on breeding the thoroughbred horses.
Russian Riding, including the best stallions, were sold in the shortest time and soon had completely disappeared. Obviously, it would be possible to finish the history of one of the best and original domestic breeds. Only on the kept pictures and engravings of known Russian artists we can see wonderful, forms of Orlovo-Rostopchins horses, only books kept names of best representatives of the breed – stallion Svirepy, Orlov’s favorite; refined and temperamental stallion Glazunchik; stallion Ashonok with its unique exterior; stallion Yashma, given the best in breed posterity of winners and prize-winners of largest world exhibitions (Frant, Fakel, Priyatny, Priyatel, Granitik, Bayanchik, Braslet, Begonia, Vorobey and others).
But there were still some Russian Riding in different places of the country. In Zaporozh’e stud they tried to work with stallion Globus with nearly no result. Some horses from Labinsky stud went to Ukraine. The must significant was the posterity of stallion Buket and Trakehner mares, got in fiftieth in Kirov stud in Rostov region. The best from that offspring was Buket's son stallion Bespechny, who played an outstanding role in forming and founding of Ukraine Riding breed. Some of half-blooded horses still were in Ural region. So, was it possible to restore the breed using such a different and not homogeneous material? The answer was the only: it is impossible.
And nevertheless, it would be not good to refuse such an attempt, in time when equestrian sport in country was going up and also a great demand about horses sports type from foreign sportsmen. All of that dictated necessity of creation of breed specialized for sport. And the best model for that purpose could be only Russian Riding. To recreate the breed, keeping its external shape and giving to it more sport-qualities was not easy. In such conditions when the recoupment of branch was the indispensable requirement and made opportunities of experiment very limited, there left no margin for mistake.
It was also very difficult to form a basic livestock of horses. The big part of horses with blood of Russian Riding was concentrated in studs of Ukraine. And problem to get them to Russia was not only in money but also in unwillingness of their Ukrainian owners to give them. Nevertheless more than ten mares and five stallions with Russian blood went to Starozhilovo stud. This stud was made a basic centre for the work of recreation of Russian Riding. Before 1976 Starozhilovo stud works with Trakehners. But in 1976 most of them went to Kaliningrad stud and the remained livestock was not enough for effective work of Starozhilovo stud.
Few trakehners from Starozhilovo stud, some Arabians, Akhaltekins and English thoroughbred were choosen for the beginning of the work on recreation of Russian Riding breed (Orlov and Rostopchin used those breeds when they created Russian Riding). Also were added some Orlov trotter as the genetically close breed to Russian Riding.
Plan of work of reconstruction of the breed developed by employees of faculty of horse breeding of the Timiryazev agricultural academy (Moscow) and provided the complex scheme of interbreed crossings. The basic directions of these crossings were: combinations among horses with Russian blood and complex reproductive crossings of breeds initially used in work of Orlov. Gradual merge of those two basic directions should provide consolidation of type and the main pedigree qualities and create genealogic structure of revived breed.
Twenty years of working got good results. The base of breed made about 200 mares with all qualities and type of Russian Riding. The special commission of Department of animal industries and breeding business of the Ministry of Agriculture and the foodstuff of the Russian Federation made the decision about inclusion of Russian Riding in number of the selection achievements admitted to use in territory of the Russian Federation. Special acts have fixed creation of breed and put it in number of best domestic breeds of horses.
The primary goal of formation of breed was the development and fastening in it specific and enough the distinct qualities necessary for successful use of horses in competitions by classical kinds of equestrian sport and, first of all, in dressage. Achievement of this purpose was possible not only because of using horses shown high results in sport in breeding work, but also due to special system of tests and trainings for young horses. In an expert of horse-breeding our country such system approach to selection on sports qualities has been carried out for the first time.
All young mares and stallions started to train in the age of one and half years and in six months they were tested on quality of movements on the basic natural gaits (a walk, a trot and canter) and on quality of jumps. Thus, impellent properties of horses were tested on work with horsemen, and jumping qualities tested on freely moving horse in a special corridor – schpringarten. The complex estimation of results of these tests was considered in selection) together with parameters of measurements, correctness of the exterior and even features of color. The preference was given to horses of black color, dark-bay and, as exception, bay horses.
In the generated breed there is the genealogic structure consisting of stallion’s lines and mares families. Best stallions are from lines of well-known Buket. There are two perspective lines begun from thoroughbred stallions Gunib and Daban. Among nine mare’s families developed in breed, families of Grust, Inspektsiya and Bespeka have special value. Fastening of typical features of horses of these related groups with using of moderated inbreeding creates necessary differentiation in breed and allows predicting results of breeding selections. In Starozhilovo stud they also use in work stallions of English thoroughbred, Arabian and Akhaltekins breeds specially selected for it. It creates conditions for updating single qualities of horses of young breed and allows to not becoming isolated in a circle of the limited number of families.
Horses of Russian Riding breed have good parameters for wide use in classical kinds of equestrian sport. Average measurements of mares in breed: height - 165 cm, body length - 167 cm, chest girth - 196 cm and a chest metacarpus - 20,5 cm. They have special line of head and a structure of a neck. In the breed prevails the black color, white marks meet not often. The most important qualities of these horses are their abilities to sports work. As it is already noted, annually lead tests of working capacity of two-year-old young horses and participation in the best representatives of breed in the All-Russia tests of young growth distinctly shows significant successes in selection to these attributes. Last years horses from Starozhilovo become winners of these competitions, winning representatives of other breeds, including trakehners.
Some good results in “big sport” were already during the first years of work with the breed. Remarkable sons of stallion Nabeg (from Bespechny) – black stallions Dikson and Barin - during a decade dominated over All-Union and All-Russia dressage competitions. They were winners and prize-winners of the international competitions, participated in Olympic Games in Seoul and in Barcelona. In nowadays stallions Kipr, Kubar, Gepard, Izumitel and many others get lots of excellent results in dressage in All-Russia and international competitions.
As the result of achievement of high parameters in work with breed, is marked also steady economic efficiency of breeding and growing of these horses in Starozhilovo stud and other facilities. The stud annually enters into a three of the best horse breeding farms of the country. Many sport schools and other organizations in Russia and abroad use horses from Starozhilovo. Sportsmen from Germany, Belgium, Italy, Finland and other countries is appreciated and gladly buy Russian Riding horses. Of particular interest in this breed are often U.S. citizens. This country already has a stud farm for breeding Russian horses.
Remarkable Russian breed of horses, having passed a difficult and tragically way, having revived in new qualities, certainly, should become one of the best in our horse breeding.