Video: Don Horse
2023 Author: Molly Page | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 22:49
The Don horse (Russian don) is a local Russian breed of riding and harness horses, bred in the 18th-19th centuries on the territory of the present Rostov region by Platov, Ilovaisky and others upon returning from overseas campaigns in 1813-1815. Along with the Orlov trotter, one of the most distinctive factory breeds in Russia.
The basis was the horses of the southern Russian steppes, which the Don Cossacks first hunted from nomads, and later bred in stanitsa herds. In the middle of the 19th century, in order to improve Zadonsk horse breeding, the state organized purchasing expeditions for eastern, mainly Turkmen horses. It was the eastern, and, above all, the Karabakh blood that gave the Don horse its distinctive exterior and golden-red color. At the end of the 19th century, Zadonia became one of the most important areas for horse repairs. The cavalry needed a larger and stronger horse, and crossing with a thoroughbred horse breed began to gain more and more influence. Some Orlov-Rostopchin and Strelets stallions were also used on the Don.
By the end of the 17th century. the type of the Old Don horse was formed, characterized by endurance, unpretentiousness to feed and care, strong constitution and health, with a characteristic conformation - a humped head, a long neck with an Adam's apple, a straight back, deep girth and strong limbs and exceptionally strong hooves.
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Horses of this type were used in the Russian cavalry, especially during the period of the Suvorov campaigns and the Patriotic War of 1812. Many Don horses were in the shock units of the First Cavalry Army. After the end of the civil war, the best Donchaks from the military units were withdrawn and sent to recruit stud farms in the Rostov region. Selection and breeding work in these farms was carried out in the direction of obtaining a strong and strong military repair horse, well adapted to the conditions of cultural herd keeping. The horses were bred in "cleanliness", but some of the Don mares were crossed with purebred horse breeders. The quality of horses has improved markedly with each new generation.
At the end of the XIX century. the process of transformation of the Old Don horses began, which led to the creation of a new type of Don horse. Modern Don horses are distinguished by their strong constitution and excellent health. They are large, strong, hardy, well adapted to the harsh conditions of keeping, unpretentious animals. Don horses are suitable for show jumping, triathlon, amateur sports, races, hobby classes and teaching children to ride, they can be used not only under a saddle, but also in light harness. Suitable for mounted police and cavalry. In Soviet times, they participated in carriage races.
Known for their resilience and endurance, the Don horses could cover long distances in a short time. They are undemanding in care, are insensitive to bad weather, and have good health and longevity. The character is usually very independent, requiring an experienced hand. Don horses are unpretentious, have good fertility, are not early maturing (development ends by the age of five), but when grown in good conditions, they reach large sizes by the age of three.
The color is predominantly red with a golden tint, bay, brown; often with a golden tint.
The Don horse combines large growth (depending on the line - from 155 to 168 cm at the withers), elegance and great unpretentiousness - it is adapted to herd keeping. In it, to a certain extent, the features of the universal cavalry type have been preserved: it looks more elongated and massive than the bloodier riding horses.
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On the exterior, the Don horse now belongs to the category of riding-draft horses. She is large in stature, long in shape, with a fairly massive and wide body, with a good girth of the chest and a developed bone with normal limb length. The head of the Don horse varies in size and type, dry, wide in the forehead, with a straight or somewhat concave profile (in horses of the so-called eastern type); neck of medium length; withers not high enough, short; the back is straight; the loin is good; the croup is more often straight. The frequent shortcomings of the front limbs of the Don horses include: steep shoulder blade, butt-headstock, and hence the shaking at a trot and gallop, a relatively shortened metacarpus and often sunken, "calf" wrist.
The dimensions of the breeding stallions recorded in the VII volume of the State Book are as follows, cm: height at the withers - 162.4. chest girth - 186.0, pastern girth - 20.5; measurements of mares, respectively, 161.0-187.1-20.2. At VDNKh of the former USSR, more powerful horses were usually exhibited. So, the champion of the show, the stallion Dobrynya, born in 1977, was 172 cm tall, and weighed 640 kg. Dimensions of the champion of the exhibition in 1988, Zlatohor, born in 1980, - 165-203-20.5 cm; live weight - 560 kg.
In terms of the agility shown at the hippodromes, the Don horses are inferior to the horses of specialized riding breeds. At the age of 3, the best representatives of the breed cover a distance of 2400 m in 2 minutes 43 s, and a distance of 3200 m in 3 minutes 37 s.
Don horses have been tested in maximum daily runs. So, in 1950, on the Don stallions Sinus, Dobry, Bedouin and Derbist, 305 km were covered per day under the rider (20 hours of movements and 4 hours for stops on the way), and on the Don-Tekzho-Kazakh stallion Zenit in the daily run it was installed absolute record - 311.6 km.
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Don horses are usually kind and obedient. They are successfully used in mass equestrian sports, rental, tourism, in show jumping, triathlon, as well as in agricultural and transport work.
The Don horse is an excellent improver for local, in particular Kazakh, Bashkir and Kyrgyz horse breeds. The hybrids of the first generation are significantly enlarged, improved in exterior and performance, at the same time, they do not reduce their adaptability to natural conditions.
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