Horse runs. History and Modernity
Remote horse racing is becoming increasingly popular in many countries around the world. In recent years, such disciplines as dressage, show jumping and triathlon have been supplemented by additional disciplines – horse races, carriage races, vaulting, etc. These equestrian events are not new for our country, especially with regard to distance testing of horses.
Many peoples of the former USSR (Kabardins, Turkmens, Kazakhs, etc.), because of the historical characteristics of their way of life, cultivated endurance, constitutional strength, and the ability to quickly regain strength in horses bred by them. It is these qualities that are decisive for horses participating in distance testing.
The territory of the former USSR has traditionally been rich in horse resources of various directions and purposes. For example, in 1916, Russia ranked first in the world in the number of horses. There were 38.2 million heads, that is, about 40% of the global horse population. There are a number of domestic breeds, which in their performance under long transitions can successfully compete with representatives of the Arab breed, which dominates today in international distance competitions. The most promising for such purposes are horses of local mountain and steppe breeds: Kabardian, Akhal-Teke, Yomuda, Don, Kustanai and some other breeds.
Not being competitive in classical equestrian sports, many local breeds receded into the background and, in some cases, undergo unreasonable crossbreeding with the English purebred breed, which leads to the loss of unique adaptive qualities unique to them.
The generally accepted system for testing half-breed horses in smooth racing at standard distances, blindly copied from the purebred English breed testing system, does not in any way meet the breeding goals of such breeds and cannot provide objective assessments for successful breeding work.
The introduction of a test system in the distance runs of horses of some half-breed and regional breeds can play an important role in preserving their gene pool and will serve as an excellent advertisement for them.
Methods of preparing horses for distance runs easily fit into the general technological processes of non-specialized farms involved in horse herding. The moderate-intensive loads that the riding work horses receive while observing the basic laws of special training: regularity and gradual increase in loads – largely meet the assigned tasks.
At present, distance runs have received the status of official discipline of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI). Along with the achievement of purely sporting goals, conducting distance race competitions should be an important link in breeding work with regional horse breeds (both factory and native), being a form of testing working qualities, such as constitution strength, endurance, and the ability to quickly regain strength, good kindness.
Due to the fact that lately, less attention has been paid to horses of a number of domestic breeds – Don, Karabakh, Karabair, Novokyrgyz, Kabardian and some others, the introduction of a long distance test system for them will contribute to their improvement. In addition, race competitions will make it possible to make full use of the flavor of national equestrian sports and attract the attention of not only horse breeders, but also the general public, and will also be of great educational value to young people.
Analyzing the results of international distance testing over the past two decades, it is easy to make sure that the vast majority of winners and prize-winners are representatives of the Arabian breed or horses with a large share of Arabian blood.
Therefore, a great interest in the zootechnical plan is the comparison of the distance qualities of domestic horse breeds.
The history of horse racing.
It is believed that horse races originate in Arabia, where the Bedouin nomads, having discovered that horses in the desert can move faster than camels, began to experience Arabian horses in curls (races). In Europe, the value of distance testing of horses was evaluated only after many hundreds of years – at the beginning of the XIX century. Runs began to be used as an important element in the preparation of cavalry.
Russian cavalry also made training march-throws for hundreds of kilometers, sometimes showing record results. So in 1980, the Cossack centurion D. Peshkov on the Serko gelding traveled in 193 days the distance from Blagoveshchensk to St. Petersburg, that is 8862 km. And the cornet M.Aseev in 1899 shocked the guests of the World Exhibition in Paris, having reached two mares (successively changing them) 30 days from Luben to the French capital (2633 km).