- Kustanair -

The Kustanair is a relatively young breed. It was developed at the state farms and studs in the Kazakhstan region of the former U.S.S.R. The breeding process of the Kustanair was very deliberate. They were bred to form two distinct types, each being treated in a different manner. The breed developed mainly at three state studs, at Kustanai, Turgai, and Orenburg, which were formally established in 1888, 1887, and 1890, respectively. However, it was the Kustanai Stud that had the earliest and best results, and can be credited with establishing the bred, which was officially recognized in 1951.

The basic foundations for the Kustanair were laid by taking the native steppe horses and crossing them with a Don, Kazakh, and Strelets (which is now extinct), Thoroughbred, and half-bred blood. Early crosses were fairly unsuccessful, but by using improved native mares, and further infusions of Thoroughbred blood, the fixed characteristics of the Kustanair started to emerge. The breed was not selectively bred into different types until the 1920s, when two groups of Kustanair were taken and raised under different conditions. The first group was stabled, corn fed, and selectively bred, while the second =group were kept at pasture all year round and allowed to breed freely. The results were the formation of a distinct saddle horse type, suitable for all riding purposes, and with greater quality and presence, while the second developed into horses suitable for both saddle and harness work- a tougher, hardier, and less quality horse.

The toughness and hardiness of the two types of Kustanair is relative because both types are indeed extremely tough, as are many of the Russian breeds. Typically they have great stamina and endurance, combined with a calm, quiet, and energetic disposition. This in turn makes them highly versatile saddle or harness horses. They are also for the most part attractive and quality animals, some appearing to have more Thoroughbred aspects than others.

In appearance, they have a fine, light head set on a long, muscular neck that is often set quite low. The withers are often prominent, the shoulders sloping, the back straight and wide, and the croup sloping. They are deep and broad through the chest and have long, muscular legs. Their legs have good joints and hard hooves. The Kustanair varies from chestnut, gray, bay, brown, black, or roan in color, and they stand between 15 and 15.2 hands high.


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