Development of the Pleven began in 1898 in Bulgaria,
at the former state stud known as Klementina, which is now called
the Georgi Dimitrov Agricultural Center. They are Anglo-Arab in
essence, having evolved as a result of crossing Arabian, or half-bred
local mares with Russian Anglo-Arab and half-bred stallions. Later,
Gidran Arabian stallions were also introduced, and by 1951, the
breed was officially recognized. Around this time, English Thoroughbred
blood was introduced to add refinement and quality, and to try to
increase the average size of the Plevens.
The Pleven is a rarely publicized and little known breed, which
belies its talents and qualities. They make first-class riding and
competition horses and have an excellent natural jump. They also
have a particularly attractive way of going and very good, free-flowing
paces, which makes them eminently suitable for dressage. They have
good temperaments, are calm, willing, and obedient, and are also
economical to keep and feed. Typically they have a very sound constitution
and are tough and enduring.
In appearance, they are almost universally well put together,
and have a nicely proportioned head with a straight profile. The
neck is quite long, muscular, and generally has a good topline.
They are broad and deep through the chest, and have well-formed,
nicely sloping shoulders that account for their very correct action.
The quarters are very muscular, and the croup is slightly slopping
with a well-set tail. Their legs are mostly well-conformed, muscular,
with good density of bone, and well-made, large broad joints. They
tend to have muscular forearms, strong, well-defined tendons, and
very hard, well-formed feet and hooves.
The Pleven has a natural carriage and presence, and elevation
through the strides, all qualities that have probably been inherited
from their Arabian ancestors. They are always chestnut in color,
and stand between 15.2 and 16 hh. Plevens are still widely selectively
bred in Bulgaria and there are continued efforts to increase the
overall size of the horse, which would make it a more viable option
on the international sports horse market, while maintaining its
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