The Russian Budenny (bood-yo-nee) was created to replace the mass equine casualties of World War I and the Russian Revolution, and to breed a horse that a Soviet officer would be proud to ride. The top cavalry riders were the Cossacks who rode the native Don. The new horse had to have the Don’s attributes yet be taller and possess beautiful movement and stamina. Thoroughbreds were crossed with Dons to create the Budenny. Today, the Budenny excels in show jumping, dressage and eventing. Because of restrictions during the rise of the Soviet Union, the breed is not common worldwide and only a few exist in the United States.
The Budenny stands 15 to 16 hands and is found in various shades of chestnut with some white markings. Careful breeding of the Don and the Thoroughbred created a horse with large bone and muscle, and agile and flowing movement. The Budenny looks like a sturdier Thoroughbred with the same long neck, slender yet strong legs and pretty head. The Budenny is also spelled Budonny and Budennovsky. The Russian spelling is Budennovskaia. Although no breed association represents the Budenny, the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of the Horse (VNIIK) based near Moscow oversees the breed and manages the studbook.