Eurasia - Russia

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The Don Horse is the oldest continuously bred Russian riding horse. It was named after the big Don River and originated over 200 years ago in the steppes of Southern Russia. The breed was made famous by the dashing riding skills of the Don Cossack's who surprised their enemies by the speed of their movement, springing from a rest to a full gallop and coming from a gallop to a dead halt, using superb horses. There was a special relationship between the people whose lives became dependant on horses who could thrive in the harsh conditions of the arid steppes.
The horses were descendants from stock of mixed blood of the nomadic steppe people, probably including Magai, Karabakh, Turkmen and Persian- Arabian horses. During the 19th century Thoroughbred, Orlow and part-bred Arabian blood was added upgrading the Cossack horses. The Don, traditionally kept in herds on the vast steppes of Russia, developed into a tough breed able to thrive with little human help.
The Don has various inherited conformation defects which limit the quality of the breed's paces, but its strong constitution make it suitable for endurance riding. They also go well in harness.
The All-Russian Institute of Horsebreeding regularly publishes a studbook for the Don with an annual
catalogue that evaluates and ranks eligible breeding stallions.

medium size, well formed head; wide forehead
Neck: average length
Shoulders: straight
Body: strong body; broad, straight back; muscular chest; straight loins; rounded croup; fairly sloping hindquarters
Legs: straight, strong limbs; well muscled forearms and second thigh; tendency to calf knees, sickle hocks and upright pasterns
Mane and Tail: short, thin
Color: predominantly chestnut and brown, often with golden shine
Height: 15.3. to 16.2hh
Temperament: calm, willing
Qualities:  tough, great stamina, fast, agile, physical and mental strength

The Don is bred for pleasure riding, equine tourism and sport competitions at which it excels. The breed is suitable for endurance riding and goes well in harness.