Eurasia - Russia

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The Orlov Trotter takes it's name from Count Alexis Orlov, a soldier famous for his courage and bravery, and founder of the Orlov Stud near Moscow. He  imported the grey Arabian stallion Smetanka from Greece who's son Bars I became the foundation sire of the Orlov Trotter. In 1788 the breeding was transferred to the province of Voronezh where the Khrenov stud was founded. Bars I was bred to imported Arabian, Dutch, Danish and half-bred English mares. At the start of the 19th century the breed improved due to extensive inbreeding and systematic training and racing, becoming one of the world's foremost trotting horses in Russia and Europe. The Orlov Trotter was also a popular carriage horse and influential in the improvement of Russian livestock.
Crossbreeding with the Standardbred resulted in a faster half-bred known as the Russian Trotter. The change in breeding as well as World War I, the Russian civil war, collectivisation, World War II and the break-up of the Soviet Union took its toll on the Orlov Trotter. Dedicated breeders saved the Orlov Trotter and a new interest in the breed is evident.
In 1997 the International Committee for the Protection of the Orlov Trotter was founded. The stud book of the Orlov Trotter is maintained by the All-Russian Institute of Horsebreeding.

conformation of driving horse
Head: small, often coarse head; large, expressive eyes
Neck: long, naturally arched; set high on withers
Body: muscular body; long, straight back; deep, broad chest; well sprung ribs; muscular loins; broad, powerful croup
Legs: fine, squarely set; prominent joints; clearly defined tendons; minimum of 20cm (8 inches) of bone below knee
Color: predominantly grey, common bay and black, rare chestnut
Height: stallions 16hh, mares 15.3hh
Temperament: good
Qualities: powerful action, stamina, hardy

In Russia some harness competitions are restricted to Orlov Trotters with championships based on speed and conformation. Troika racing is becoming popular again where the two side horses gallop and the centre horse trots.