In the last quarter of 19th century in a pursuit of high prizes the american jockeys began to appear in St. Petersburg and Moscow more and more often on theirs so-called "two-minutes" trotters - they cover a mile (1600 meters) for two minutes and some seconds.
One of the first to Russia from America came Clayton's, the well-known jockey family - the father and sons with their own trotters. They established the prize-winning stable and began the manufacturing of modern very light carts with rubber wheels.Very soon they were unrivalled on the racecourses of Moscow and St. Petersburg. One year Clayton and sons won almost all prizes and earned more than 300,000 rubles. The horse-breeders got agitated and began to repine. Some of them rushed to buy the very expensive American trotters. Other protested demanding to forbid the performance of American trotters in Russia.
In such conditions Vorontsov-Dashkov, as a head of domestic horse-breeding, had to make a decision. He found a compromise. The prizes were divided into two groups. One was for the horses of all breeds, other only for Oryol trotters. But nevertheless, the count preferred American trotters. "The only criterion of quality of a horse I consider a prize pole", - he told later. With such reasoning Vorontsov-Dashkov made vigorous efforts buying American trotters, not only for his stud farm and prize-winning stables in St. Petersburg and Moscow, but also for state stud farms.
Vorontsov-Dashkov was interested in cross-breeding more than anybody else. He always was present at horsing, sitting under a glass cap at center above one of the stables. The count considered it to be so important, that often forced his spouse Elizaveta Andreevna (Shuvalova before marriage) to be present on it with visitors, which were in Novotomnikovo that time. The visitors were only grand people: the members of tzar family, which arrival was marked with planting of one more tree in oak alley of ancient park. Such as relatives of four daughters married off in families of Shuvalov's, Sheremetyev's, Musin-Pushkin's, and Demidov's.
The conversations about horses touched common interest, as all aristocracy had stables and stud farms. This kind of private business was considered to be almost the only activity that is not derogating dignity of a true aristocrat.
By the end of 19th century on private and state stud farms in Russia there were 20 trotters prizewinners of an American origin. In the mass order there was a crossing of blooded Oryol dams with American trotters.
The most given was Vorontsov-Dashkov. Even two victories of "oryols" over "americans" in summer season of 1898 didn't cool him. The Oryol trotter Boets broke the record on three miles established by American trotter Monnet. His own mare Krylataya broke the record of Monnet on three and three quarters of second in the same season. But he had made the choice, " his knight's move ", and was not going to back up. Soon the count accepted on a service all jockeys of Clayton's family with the fantastic salary 300 thousands rubles per year.
The outstanding scientist hippologist prince Sergei Urusov engaged in controversy against Vorontsov-Dashkov. Urusov considered cross-breeding "as a medicine not by illness". "The only developing of ability to quick trot, as they have made with the trotter in America, - he wrote, - will result in quick but narrow, boneless, long-legged horse without rib and quite often without a back and completely useless in agriculture. It is necessary to improve inside the breed. Bad can be born even from good but never good from bad ".
Many years have passed since then and this dispute has not finished yet.
After the death of the count Vorontsov-Dashkov in 1916 his heirs, going to leave the country, arranged cut-price sale of all horses' elite of the farm. In Soviet time it became only a branch of state stud farm in Morshansk.
By 1918 in Novotomnikovo left only three blooded mares of Oryol breed. Horses were taken from stables both by "red" and "white". The very nice farm before now it fell to desolation and, as the saying goes, the farm was going. For long time it was existing only as horsing point, on which only a dozen of mares were blissomed per year.
By a lucky chance among the three left blooded Oryol dams there was the young mare Opora. Later she was bound to play the outstanding role in domestic horse-breeding and to save the breed of Oryol trotters from complete oblivion. In a 1934 she gave birth to a colt named Otboy. His father was stallion Burelom born in 1927. The Moscow scientist hippologist S. Kalinin liked this streamlined trotter after the Moscow races in 1930 and advised to pay the special attention to him.
Meanwhile stud farms kept cross-breeding of Oryol trot horses, what was started before the revolution. Only now they cross-breed blooded Oryol mares not with American trotters, the state did not give money to buy them, but with crossbreeds' posterity. At first they were called "american-oryols", then just Russian trotters. They were propagated on six stud farms, mainly on Lavrovsk farm in our region.
The big work was performing continuously on creating and developing of that new breed of thrifty trotters. The care for Oryol trotters was paled into insignificance. The majority of the experts believed that this breed had reached the limits of the further perfection. And, as it turned out, they were wrong.
Today in stalls of Novotomnikovo stud farm stay the good-lookers of Oryol breed restored by the efforts of horse-breeding enthusiasts. The farm fosterlings have reached friskiness, which once was considered possible only for American trotters. Now the Russian troyka, made from Oryol trotters revives abroad as the mode. The customers from abroad readily buy them in Novotomnikovo.
One cannot name the work on cross-breeding of Oryol trotter with American one as reckless step. If due to Oryol trotter Russia gained the improved breed of working horses in place of bow-backed hacks with bangled stomachs, then the cross-breeding of Oryol horse gave the new breed of Russian trotter of distinct sportish type.
There is no other animal like horse the mankind is so indebted to. Without the count Aleksei Orlov we would not have Oryol trotters, which bring glory to Russia for many years, making an ornament to our nation. We would not receive a trotter,