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The Budenny horse was developed in Russia and by 1948 the breed was fully developed. The name of the breed has been spelled Budenny, Bodenny, Budyonny, Budennii, or Budennoysky, but is basically pronounced “bood-YAW-knee”.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE BREED
During the 1920’s Russian began a serious effort to create new breeds, a process that involved complex experiments in cross breeding. Originally intended as a cavalry horse of endurance, the Budenny was named after the great Soviet cavalry leader of the Civil War.
At first, Don and Thoroughbreds were crossed with local steppe horses, especially the Kazakh and Kirgiz. Early days in the formation of the breed saw the Don and Kazakh crosses, although hardy, being prone to certain faults in the legs, and the low set neck and insufficient withers made them uncomfortable to ride. Crosses of the Kazakh with Thoroughbreds, on the other hand, moved freely and gracefully but were not sufficiently hardy or fertile. The key was crossing Don with Thoroughbred. And when Thoroughbred characteristics were not sufficiently pronounced in the resulting mares, they were re-crossed with Thoroughbred stallions.
Over 600 mares were used in the original experiments. Over half of the mares were Anglo-Don, a Thoroughbred cross. Others were an Anglo-Don and Chernomor cross or simply Anglo-Chernomor. The first stallions used were Anglo-Don stallions and these are now regarded as the breed’s foundation.
The successful progeny were raised carefully on a generous diet and performance tested at 2 and again at 4 years of age.
This breed has a strong constitution, well developed muscles, a rather heavy body but lightly built with the appearance of a true riding horse, and an energetic but calm temperament. The head is medium sized and dry, with a straight or slightly concave profile, handsome and showing the Thoroughbred influence. The neck is long, set on high, and often curved. The withers are high, the back straight, relatively short, wide and flat. The loins are wide, long, and muscular. The croup is long; the shoulder long and slanting, but not as long as the Thoroughbred, with the ribs long and rounded.
Budenny legs are dry with good bone and clearly outlined tendons. The pasterns are medium long, usually properly slanted. The hoof is medium large, regularly formed, with study good bone. The essential measurements aimed for are length of barrel 5 feet, 4 inches (163cm); the girth 6 feet, 3 inches (190cm); and bone below the knee an optimistic 8 inches.
Chestnut is the most prevalent color, but brown, bay and black are also common while grey almost never occur. Height runs from 15.2 to 16 hands. The breed shows good, productive regular movement in all paces and jumps well.
TODAY’S TESTING AND USE
The Budenny is rigorously tested on the racetrack and over longs distances. They have been recorded as covering a mile in one minute, 14 seconds and covering the distance of 5 miles in 11 minutes, 30 seconds. Another record was achieved by one Budenny covering 192 miles under saddle in 24 hours, ridden for 20 hours out of 24.
The Budenny of today’s world is fully recognized and used for riding, sport, transport, harness, farm work, international dressage, jumping and steeplechasing. The Budenny became and is a success as an international riding horse. In fact, the Budenny stallions have also been, in their turn, extremely valuable in developing and improving other Russian breeds (such as the Kaakh, Kirgiz).