The Orlov Trotter: Facts & Information On This Horse Breed

The Orlov Trotter is a well-known breed that originates from what used to be known as the USSR or the Soviet Union. This impressive breed is known for its trotting capabilities and will often compete in Orlov-Trotter-Only races in Russia.

What Is the Orlov Trotter?

The Orlov Trotter is a breed of horse that originated in what was known as the USSR or the Soviet Union. This impressive breed is known for its trotting capabilities and will often compete in trotting races against other Orlov Trotters in Russia. Usually found in the grey coat color, these horses can actually be any of the base coat colors found in horses (bay, black, chestnut, and grey).

Basic Breed Information

Height16 hands high
Weightbetween 1,000 and 1,200 pounds (470 to 650 Kilograms)
Acceptable ColorsBay, chestnut, and black, but mostly found in grey
Country of OriginFormer USSR or Soviet Union

How Big Is The Orlov Trotter?

The Orlov Trotter is a fairly average-sized horse. These horses usually will stand just around 16 hands high and weigh around 1,000 to 1,200 pounds (470 to 650 kilograms).

Much of the weight that these horses carry is all in muscle. These impressive trotting horses are strong and need this extra muscle to be able to trot for long distances.

What Colors Can Orlov Trotters Be?

Orlov trotters can be found in any of the 4 base colors seen in horses.

These colors include:

  • bay
  • black
  • chestnut
  • grey

Though these horses can be any of these colors, the most common color to see them in is grey.

The History Of The Orlov Trotter

The Orlov Trotter has a unique history, especially since it is descended from royal bloodlines.

The creation of the Orlov Trotter all started with a man named Count Alexei Orlov. This man was made commander of the Russian fleet because of his conspiracy regarding the overthrow of Peter III and the desire to win the throne for Catherine the Great.

Count Orlov led his troops into an important battle against the Turks which he and his troops became victorious. As a reward for this victory, Count Orlov was rewarded with a magnificent Arabian stallion named Smetanka by the Turkish Admiral.

This stallion bred with a number of the mares in the region and of his progeny, a stallion named Polkan I. Polkan I was the sire of the stallion known as Bars I who foaled in 1784. Bars I later became the founding stallion of the Orlov Trotter breed.

Count Orlov owned a stud known as the Khrenov Stud which was established in the year 1788. Bars I, the founding stallion of the Orlov Trotter breed was then moved to this stud where he was bred with a variety of mares of Arabian, Dutch, Danish, English, and Mecklenburg descent. The best of the offspring were then interbred until specific characteristics were created.

With the creation of the breed, the Orlov Trotter (named after Count Alexei Orlov) was used as a carriage horse and racing trotting horse.

Between the years 1885 and 1913, the American Standardbred Breed was crossed into the Orlov Trotter Breed to make the horses trot and race faster. After a while of introducing these horses, however, people feared that the Orlov Trotter was losing its traits and qualities when it was crossed with the American Breed. With this American contamination in the breed, the want to reestablish the Russian traits became almost necessary.

Today, the Orlov Trotter does not compare in speed to the American Standardbred, but it is still used in trotting races in Russia.

How To Identify The Orlov Trotter

The traits that these horses carry that make them identifiable include:


Thanks to their Arabian descendants, the Orlov trotter has a fine, nicely shaped head. These horses are often seen with a dished face as well that resembles that of the Arabian breed.


The Neck on the Orlov trotter is strong, arched, and upright.


Because the breed is primarily used for trotting, the shoulders in these horses are usually pretty straight.


Long strong legs are a staple of this horse breed. They need their long legs to be able to take long strides and cover more ground when racing.


These horses mainly come in the grey color which is one of the ways to identify this breed.

What Type Of Horse Is The Orlov Trotter?

Though the Orlov Trotter descended from the hotblooded Arabian breed, these horses are still classified as a Warmblood. This is because there was so much warmblood influence in the creation of this breed so the hotblooded characteristics, build, and traits were pretty much overrun.

What Is The Orlov Trotter Good At?

You might guess just by looking at this horse’s name, but the Orlov Trotter is good at, well, trotting!

These horses are used in harness races at the trot in Russia. Though these horses aren’t able to trot at the same speeds that the American Standardbred is able to, their trotting capabilities are still impressive.

The original use of this breed was both for trotting under harness in races, but also for use as an attractive carriage horse.

What Is The Average Lifespan Of This Breed?

The Orlov trotter has the same average lifespan as that of the average horse. Usually, these horses live to be between 25 and 30 years old, though some members of this breed can outlive the average lifespan if they are well taken care of and in good health.

Fun Facts On Orlov Trotters

  • The Orlov Trotter is mainly seen in the grey coat color
  • The original stud for this breed is still open and it is thought that the best Orlov Trotters are produced out of this stud alone
  • Russians thought that crossing this breed with the American Standardbred was destroying the years of careful breeding put behind this trotting horse so the crossbreeding was put to a stop in 1913
  • Different Orlov Trotter studs produce Orlov Trotters that carry different traits.
  • These horses ahve thich healthy manes and tails and almost always carry great hair genetics

Hailey Sipila

Horses have been my passion ever since I can remember. At school, I was known as that weird horse girl, and I would read horse encyclopedias for fun. Over the years since those days, I have only learned more. My experiences with horses of a variety of breeds have taught me a lot. Now I want to share what I know with you!

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