Name of breed: Orlov Trotter
Breed origin: The Orlov Trotter is Russia’s famous horse breed, renowned for its speed and stamina and fast-paced trot. The breed was developed in Russia in the late 18th century by Count Alexei Orlov, hence the name.
The Orlov breed foundation is from European mares and Arabian stallions.
Distinguishing features: The Orlov Trotters are generally taller and more robust than standard breeds.
In appearance, the Orlovs are characterized by a big head, large expressive eyes, a long and naturally arched neck set high, prominent withers and broad croup.
Due to its Arabian origins, many Orlovs are grey, at maturity, though all are born a darker colour at birth.
Modern day Orlov Trotter: After the fall of the Soviet Union, the future of the breed seemed unclear since rich Russians interested in harness racing preferred the faster Russian and American trotters. Therefore, in 1997, the International Committee for the Protection of the Orlov Trotter was established.
Purebred Orlov trotters are now raised on twelve stud farms in Russia and three in Ukraine. The studs in Russia have a total of about 800 mares, which raises some concern; it is a general rule that a horse breed with fewer than 1000 female individuals is in danger.