The Don breed name comes from the river Don which is found in the steppes of Russia. Don Cossacks used the horses as far back as the 18th century as cavalry horses. They are still found on the Asian Steppes where they cope with heavy winter snow and have to forage for survival. They are extremely tough and hardy.
It is believed that the Don contains blood from Turkoman and Karabakh stallions which were captured from the south and set free to roam with the original smaller horses which the Don Cossacks rode. As with the Akhal-Teké this is where the golden chestnut colour originates!
Thought of as a working horse, the Cossacks used the Don for raids on Napoleon's army during the retreat over the winter of 1812. The horses had to be able to survive on little food but also cope with the bitter cold whilst carrying riders. These horses also marched to Paris and back - an unprecedented campaign!
The breed became popular and many horses were exported. Unfortunately, numbers fell during the Russian revolution and WWI. However, a programme of breeding was established to restore numbers.
Height: 15.1hh - 16hh
Colour: 'Gold' chestnut, chestnut, bay or grey.
Conformation: Fairly wiry appearance. Good clean head set onto a good neck. The withers are high and the chest deep. The back is long as are the legs and the hooves are strong.
Temperament: Tough and self sufficient.
Used as a good all rounder. Popular for long distance riding but also driving and are often used in a Russian tachanka - 4 horses are hitched side by side.
Horse Life and Love. Please check it out and SUBSCRIBE.
You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram for updates on Chesney, Basil, Tommy and Daisy.
Until next time!