Famous Russian dressage horse, the Orlov Trotter Balagur, has died at the age of 29.
Eurodressage has reported that he died on December 10. Balagur competed in dressage at the highest level up to 2009 with Alexandra Korelova. He was thought to be the only Orlov Trotter competing at high-level dressage.
The Orlov Trotter is Russia’s most famous native breed, noted for its fast trot and outstanding stamina. It was developed by Count Alexey Orlov at his Khrenovsky Stud farm in the European part of Russia.
First trained as a racehorse, Balagur (Raskat x Brusnika, by Kolchan) won two races, then started a career as a circus horse where it was reported that his welfare was not the priority of his owners. He was then bought by the mounted police where he remained until the age of 10. He was noticed at a parade by one of Russia’s greatest dressage riders, the late Elena Petushkova, whose knowledgeable eye detected his great potential for piaffe and passage.
Thus followed the FEI World Equestrian Games in Jerez de la Frontera in 2002 and Aachen in 2006, the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, and the European Championships in Hickstead in 2003 and Hagen in 2005.
In 2007 at the FEI World Cup Dressage qualifier in Neumunster, Alexandra and Balagur, who was owned by Anatoly Balykin, scored a perfect 10 for their piaffe. This combined with an excellent passage and smooth transitions put the pair in sixth place with 78.2%. The crowd started a standing ovation before the test was over.
Balagur had been in retirement for the past decade with Monica Theodorescu in Germany, where he served as a schoolmaster for her working students, up until a few days before he died.