This breed was developed in Ivanovo and Vladimir regions on the basis of large native horses through crossbreeding with various draft breeds, such as the Percheron and the Suffolk, and later with the Clydesdale and, to a lesser extent, with the Shire. The latter was in wide use only from 1919 through 1929. The aim was a horse of medium draft power or less which would have rather high speed. In the formation of the breed, a particular role was played for more than a hundred years by Gavrilovo-Posad breeding station, previously a stud farm and a state breeding stable. Its experts invested no small effort in the creation of horses of uniform type in the region. In 1946 the new heavy draft breed was recognized.
Vladimir drafts combine ample size, stout build, speed and an energetic temperament. Compared to the Clydesdale, the Vladimir has a more developed chest and cleaner and more solid build. The average measurements (in cm) of the stallions are: height at withers 160, oblique body length 165, chest girth 196, cannon bone girth 24. The stallions live weight is 750-800 kg. The mares' measurements (in cm) are 157, 162, 188 and 23.0 respectively. The inadequate size of Vladimir drafts is due to their being reared in simple management conditions at collective farm studs.
The features of the conformation are: a long clean-cut head with the profile often arched; elongated and well-muscled neck; sufficiently pronounced and long withers; back somewhat long, a little dipped; short and broad loin; long moderately sloping croup; long legs, clean properly set. the chest is broad but not deep and the ribs are insufficiently sprung. The hair of the mane, tail and limbs is well developed. The Vladimir have excellent gaits. The predominant color is bay; brown and black are less frequent. There are characteristic markings on the head (a star or blaze) and legs.
The Vladimir's performance test results are good. the 2000 m walking draft record with a pull of 150 kg is 12 min 34.2 sec; the trotting draft record for the same distance with a pull of 50 kg is 4 min 34 sec. The draft endurance with a pull of 300 kg is 987 m, while the maximum pull was 820 kg, 94.3% of the horse's live weight.
The Vladimirs have a high growth rate, with the foals' live weight reaching 200 kg by the age of six months. The mares are quite fertile, the live birth rate being 75-80 foals per 100 mares.
The breeding work is being carried out at the Yuryev-Polski stud. The breed has 4 lines.
Reference:Dmitriez, N.G. and Ernst, L.K. (1989) Animal Genetic Resources of the USSR. Animal Production and Health Paper Publ. by FAO, Rome, 517 pp.Photograph:Bob Pendlebury, UK