Ukrainian International Horse Breeding and Riding

Little girls dream of owning one. Farmers once relied on their burly strength. Soldiers fired bullets from their stolid backs in wars past. The horse, mankind’s honorable equine partner and friend has evolved in both purpose and breeding through the centuries. Indeed, horse breeding itself, a tradition for over 6,000 years, is as much an art form as a scientific experiment. In the case of Ukrainian horse aficionados, the wedding of both approaches has proven successful.

The breed, the Ukrainian Riding Horse, a mixture of Trakehner, Hanoverian and English Thoroughbred stock, is new on the international equine scene. While breeders initially concentrated on the Russian Saddle Horse lineage, some Ukrainian Riding Horses still carry the blood of their ancestral rulers. Developed after the Second World War to meet the rising demand for sport hores, today, the Ukrainian Riding Horse is well-established and excels in show-jumping, dressage, and event riding.

Preserving the excellence of the Ukrainian Riding Horse breed is central to its success. In the highly regulated environment, young horses begin training just before the age of two and participate in performance events by the age of three. Only the most refined and athletic stallions are allowed to stand at stud.

Travelers interested in riding and horse racing can find opportunities in many parts of Ukraine. In Kiev, the instructors at the Ukrainian Cossack Center work with riders at all levels. The Ukrainian Cossack Center, located on the edge of the Kiev racetrack, works to preserve the old Cossack culture. Travelers can immerse themselves in both history and a love of the horse by watching today’s Cossacks sharpen their skills in brave and masterful demonstrations replete with national costumes. Riding opportunities abound in Ukraine and riders are matched with horses attuned to skill levels. If you are not already a lover of horses, you may just catch the equine bug while spending a vacation in Ukraine.