Orlov Trotter: The Orlov was developed in 18th century Russia by Count Alexei Orlov when he crossed the purebred grey Arabian stallion Smetanka with danish, dutch and arabian mares.
Smetanka's grandson, Bars I who was foaled in 1784 (a stallion of Arabian, Danish and Dutch breeding) is considered the foundation sire of the breed. For seventeen years Bars I was crossed with different mares and sired eleven
stallions that carried his distinguishing characteristics. Orlov was very protective of his bloodstock, and would sell only geldings, it wasn't until over 20 years after his death that the trotters were openly sold to private studs. Purebred Orlovs are now raised on twelve stud farms in Russia and three in Ukraine.
Due to its Arabian origins, many Orlovs are grey at maturity, although they are a darker color at birth. They can also be found in black, bay or chestnut and their height ranges from 15.2 to 16.1 hands tall.
The trotters are very popular in Russia for harness racing or as a light carriage horse. They are also the breed of choice for the "troika", a sled or carriage drawn by three horses harnessed side-by-side. The center horse trots, while those on the outside must canter to keep up. The Russian mounted police make use of the heavier of the breed.
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