Russia’s horses

The giant Russian empire could never have come into being without horses. Whether for conquest, reclamation or transport – horses were needed until well into the 20th century. For all the diversity of the Russian breeds – tough mounts, fast trotters, hard-working pack carriers, husky cold-blooded horses and patient ponies – these animals had to be, above all, tough, enduring and undemanding. Just like the people who love them, who live and work with them. To this day, Russia’s horses reflect Russian history in all its bewildering diversity and anyone who looks into the eyes of these animals can take a deep look into the Russian soul…

For five months we travelled through breathtakingly beautiful and extremely diverse landscapes and met a wide variety of people. What unites them all is their very special relationship – often love – for the horse.  We set out on the trail of the Don Cossacks, who are unthinkable without horses. In the Caucasus, we accompany shepherds as they drive off a herd of Kabardins. Finally, in Khrenovoye in the Voronezh region, we explore Russia’s oldest stud farm. Orlov trotters are bred here. In Vladimir we take a ride on the last troika, pulled by the famous Vladimer cold-blooded horses. Near Petersburg we learn more about a gentle teaching in dealing with horses. In Moscow we are allowed to participate in the daily life of the cavalryman Dima, who performs with Putin’s mounted guard in the Kremlin. In the coldest place on earth, man and horse struggle with the challenges of nature. Sometimes they pay with their lives. A journey with a special focus that opens up a completely different view of Russia, which is so rich in facets.

Broadcast date 14.-18.8.17 täglich um 17:40 Uhr auf Arte
Length 5x45'
Written and directed by: Thorolf Lipp/Co-Regie Anastasia Vinokurova
Camera: Thomas Kulik, Thorolf Lipp
Editor: Thomas Kulik
Editorial advisor: Marita Hübinger
Line producer: Anke Meyer
Producer: Martina Sprengel
Filming location: Baschkortostan, Chrenevoje, Jakutien, Kabardino-Balkarien, Orlowski, Moskau, Kuzomen, Rostow am Don, St. Petersburg, Tomtor