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Champion horse breeds from southern Russia

Where might you find the best Arabian stallions in the world? The answer might surprise you – it is the Russian Stavropol region.

The Tersk stud farm is located just at the foot of the mountains surrounding southern Russia’s Pyatigorsk.

More than a hundred years ago, the farm was created specifically to breed Arabian horses, now it has one of each breed and is regarded as one of the world’s best and has one of each breed.

The stud farm director, Vladimir Tolmachyov, proudly shows one of the horses:

“Two years ago, the World Arabian Horse Organization ranked him the best-looking horse in the country. When he was a bit younger, he took the most prestigious trophy at the races, too,” Vladimir says.

The farm’s revenues come from breeding. The mating period lasts six months, and winter is the busiest time, as horse handler Aleksey Shipilov explains.

And to be sure, the better the horse the busier the season:

“If we take Asuan, for example, who was the most successful in terms of reproduction, he had over 350 offspring. So, that’s the maximum we’re aiming for. If a stud is good, he does have a bigger work load,” Vladimir Tolmachyov says, giving an insight into the business.

People from across the world come to the Stavropol region to buy Arabian horses there. An American horse breeder from Arizona, Howard Kale, is among them.

“This is my 31st trip. My first trip was in 1975, I have bought over 200 horses here, many of which have gone on to be national champions. Tersk became a very famous horse farm at that time and they made me world famous too,” Howard says.

He has had great success in the industry and says it is because of his partnership with Tersk:

“I bought some Russian stud books and transliterated them letter by letter, looking particularly for descendants from a specific horse who came here in 1936. Probably the greatest progenitor of the male line of many famous horses of that line comes from Tersk,” Howard believes.

Though there is a history of excellence at this institution, the horse farm has been through some troubled times. In Soviet times, horse breeding was less of an art and more utilitarian. Now, there is a concerted effort to restore the business to its former glory.