The Orlov Trotter is also simply known as Orlov because of its trot that comes to it naturally. It is also one of the most famous Russian breeds due to its high stamina and speed. The breed was developed in the 18th century by Count Alexei Orlov (1737-1807) on his Khrenovskoy stud farm. The creator in which took part in the assassination of Paul III. The Orlov Trotter was a result of the breeding of a variation of European mares, particularly of English, Dutch, Mecklenburg, and Danish breeding with Arabian stallions. At one point the Orlov was the fastest harness horse on the entire European continent. The breeders of the old days say it takes at least seven generations to define a new breed.
To ensure that the Orlov would have a great endurance to rough weather and other conditions, from birth they are forced to live outdoors. As far as usage went, the Orlov Trotter was used very commonly as a sport horse and for general draft work. It was actually the Orlov Horse that introduced harness racing in Russia; through a bigger part of the 19th century, there was no horse in the country that could match the Orlov's speed, hardiness, and endurance.
In the 20th century there was a rising concern of possible extinction of the Orlov Trotter because of random cross breeding and the Soviet's disregard of raising horses. They did however live and their numbers still rise; there are fifteen studs farms throughout Russia (twelve) and Ukraine (three) that raise pure blood Orlov Trotters.
In 1867, at the Worlds Fair in Paris, an Orlov Trotter named "Beduin" set a record of covering 3,500 feet in only 1 minute and 32 seconds. Later in 1904, another Trotter named "Krepysh" won 55 races in his lifetime; he covered a mile in 2 minutes and 8.5 seconds, which made him the fastest Trotter in pre-revolutionary Russia; he was called the "horse of the century". He and most of his offspring died in the Russian Civil War. Today the current horse to hold Krepysh's record is named "Kovboi"; he accomplished this record around 1991. Perhaps one of the most famous and influential Orlov Trotters in the past 30 years went by the name "Pion". This horse gained its recognition as a perfect breeding horse; born in 1966, he produced over 100 sons and daughters that broke "Krepysh's" record. Finally, the Trotter named "Ippik" holds the record for completing a distance of 2,400 meters in 3 minutes and 2 seconds; this record is held against any horse in all of Russia.
The Civil war was an unfortunate time for horses since many of them did not live through battle, and whether it was being simple killed during battle or being eaten when food supply was diminished, the horse's numbers were depleted. By 1920, raising these horses was once again permitted, but cross breeding them was forbidden. By the 1930s, race breeding was being resumed and many of the record holders from before were being surpassed.