Orlov Trotter

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Orlov Trotter


a breed of light harness horse with a hereditary ability to trot fast. The Orlov Trotter was introduced in the early 19th century at the Khrenovoe Stud Farm in Voronezh Province by the farm’s owner, A. G. Orlov. The breed was developed by crossing Arabian, Danish, and other saddle breeds with Western European harness horses (Dutch, Mecklenburg). Selection of the best horses of the above-mentioned breeds was done through the systematic training and testing of young horses for the development of a fast trot.

Up until the 1870’s, the Orlov Trotter was the best light harness breed. It was used widely for improving Russian horses and was exported to Western Europe and the United States. In the late 19th century, the American Trotter was introduced into Russia. Inferior to the Orlov Trotter in size and beauty but surpassing it in speed, the American breed was crossed with the Orlov Trotter to produce the Russian Trotter. Since the 1920’s, the Orlov Trotter has been raised and improved as a pure breed.

The Orlov Trotter is a large, harmoniously built horse. The measurements of the average stallion are height at the withers, 160 cm; oblique body length, 161 cm; girth of chest, 180 cm; and circumference of the front cannon bone, 20.3 cm. The average weight of stallions is 500–550 kg. The coat is usually gray, black, or bay; less frequently, it is chestnut. In Russia the maximum speed attained by an Orlov Trotter for 1,600 m was 2 min 8.625 sec; this speed was attained by the stallion Krepysh. In 1973, more than 370 horses of the breed attained this speed in the USSR. In 1938 the record time of 2 min 2.25 sec for 1,600 m was attained by the trotter Pilot.

The best farms for breeding the Orlov Trotter, not counting the Khrenovoe Stud Farm, are the Moscow, Perm’, Novotomnikovskoe (Tambov Oblast), Tula, and Dubrovskoe (Poltava Oblast) farms. The Orlov Trotter is used for improving horses in many oblasts of the USSR.


Vitt, V. O. Iz istorii russkogo konnozavodstva. Moscow, 1952.
Konnozavodstvo i konnyi sport. Edited by Iu. N. Barmintsev. [Moscow] 1972.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.