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
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
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.
Go to previous page