History of the Horse-Breeding in the Tambov region

Since long ago the horse trade has been the most important source of
income for the Tambov merchants and noblemen. There were 214 private studs in the 17-19th centuries. The best ones belonged to the counts like the Stroganovs and the Vorontsov-Dashkovs, to the princes like the Golitsins, to the noblemen like the Naryshkins, the Voeykovs, the Tchicherins. The famous Lavrovsky and Novotomnikovsky studs were founded by the Vorontsovs and the Voeykovs. The merchants also had their studs: the Aseevs (brothers-millionaires), a former owner of the Ural gold-mines Bashmakov. It was very prestige to have a private stud at that time. Even Voronezh region, which was a cradle of the world-famous Orlovsky trotter, had less breed trotters. A hundred years ago the investigators wrote:"...Tambov region has more trotter studs than any other region. Besides, it has the biggest number of the best ones...".
For the first time the regular examinations of the breed horses in Russia
were in Lebedian (a village in the Tambov region) in 1825. The trotter examinations according to the all necessary rules started in Tambov in 1835-37. The regional racing union, which was situated in Tambov, assigned the prizes for the racing and trotter horses, financed publishing of the first equestrian sport magasine in Russia. It also financed building of the new hippodrome, which was as good as the capital one.
Tambov government and rich owners of stud-farms saw very clear all profits
of the horse competitions and so stimulated it in every way. The count Orlov installed a system, which let to define the best horses all over the region (there were more than 50 000 horses in the Tambov region!).
In 1843 building of the provincial breed stable in Tambov, which had been begun according
by the order of Pavel I, was completed. Later it became a state stud. A special committee supervised all works under the improvement of the horse breeds. By special order of the capital government 180 thoroughbred stallion- producers were bought in England and Germany for Tambov provincial stable. (Now there are only 30 in all Tambov region). At first the provincial stable services were only for the landlords-owners of the studs. Later merchants and rich dignitaries also got this possibility.
The provincial stable was a real present for the regional hippodrome.
The descendants of the best producers quickly squeezed out frisky, but breedless "savrasky" (country horses) from the hippodrome tracks. It is known, that the first russian trotter-winner was a stallion named Lebed (Swan). He was born in Lavrovsky stud of the Tambov region. His victories at the competitions in 1829 brought 1 million roubles to his owners. Lebed was an ancestor of the progressive line of the Orlovsky breed.
"The king of Russian trotters" - Krepysh was born in Afanasiev's stud-farm
in 1904. He set up 13 records on Moscow and Petersburg hippodromes in 1907-1912. His best result was 2 min. and 6 sec. on the classic distance of 1600 metres. He had been out of competition untill he lost to the American bay trotter General Ach. The last best trotter in the pre-revolutionary Tambov region was the bay stallion Evil Genius, born in the Lezhnev's stud-farm in 1914. At that time the most famous stud-farm was the Novotomnikovsky stud, belonged to "the director in chief of the Russian horse-breeding" - the count Ivan Illarionovich Vorontsov-Dashkov (1837-1916).
Before the World War 1st the racing union members organized a totalizator.
The big 4-years prize or Tambovskoe Derby gave about 10000-15000 roubles to the winners. The 1st totalizator burned up with the historical wooden tribunes of the Tambov racing union hippodrome. The last big races of the landlord horses were on the regional hippodrome in 1914. The winner, a mare Kuplia of the Afanasievs-brothers, run 1600 metres for 2 min. and 21 sec.
During the World War 1st there were killed as many horses as people.
In the Tambov region the number of the horses was reduced in 5 times. The Soviet government declared horse-breeding as a matter of the state importance. The new principals of the landlords' stud-farms had to start from the very beginning. There were horse exhibitions among the measures for restoring the horse-breeding in the Tambov region. The 1st one took place on October 14th, 1920. Such an exhibition defined the champions of the various breeds, informed about new zootechnics achievements, rewarded the best workers. In 1972 the exhibitions were closed. In that years the races, where the horses of the local collective farms took part, took place not only in Tambov, but also in county towns, like Kozlov, Morshansk, Tokarevka. Actually the Tambov hippodrome did not have even his own stables. It was begun to restore only in 1946.
Till the end of the 1950s more than 1500 breed horses had been tested on the
hippodrome. In the 1970s the hippodrome was rebuilt of bricks. It was bigger and had 7 departments for training of 150 horses. 15 breed studs were restored. Declared in the 1960s the state mechanisation of the agriculture almost destroyed the horse-breeding branch. After the discharging of N.Khruschev, the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. and the Agriculture Ministry issued a few directions about the breed horse augmentation, that actually saved the branch. The number of horses in the regional farms increased till 53 000. At the beginning of the 1980s the regional hippodrome and the stud-farms showed at the its best results.
Nowadays the hippodrome and the stud-farms in the Tambov region have big
financial and production difficulties. The number of the studs are decreasing. The number of the thoroughbred horses in the Tambov region decreases at 800 heads each year, despite the increasing demand of the high class horses for the equestrian sport and of the thoroughbred horses for the agriculture. The good results are shown by the private enterprisers' studs and the federal unit "Rosplemkonzavod".
Also the last victories of the Tambov team in the regional competition have
proved, that there is a big potential for the regional equestrian sport development. All the equestrian sport needs is financial support. The horse-breeding is a very beautifull business. And it can be very profitable for a talanted owner.
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