Type of Horse: Sporting/Eventing
Country of Origin: Bulgaria
Suitable as: Pleasure riding horse or competition horse
Average Height: 154 to 162cm
Available in Australia: No

Developed in Bulgaria the Pleven horse is a curious breed. The development began at a time when interest in horses as a means of transport was dwindling at the end of the 19th century and where their popularity in the show ring was yet to hit its straps. It is indeed an odd time to be developing a new breed of horse.

That aside the development started in the Georgi Dimitrov Agricultural Center as it is known now(formerly known as the Klementina stud) with the founding horses created by crossing Arab and Arab cross thoroughbred mares with Anglo Arab and half bred stallions from Russia. The breed was later added to by injecting Gidran stallions into the breed mix. In 1951 they were recognised internationally as an official breed though even after this the breed was further changed with the addition of Thoroughbred blood to create a more refined athletic and powerful horse.

Largely unheard of outside of Bulgaria the game competition horses with a natural jumping ability. They have a free moving action and flowing gate which makes them excellent as dressage horses. They are willing and calm and typically very sound and tough horses that don’t cost a packet to feed.

Conformation and Appearance
The head is neither dished or Roman being straight profile they have muscular longneck and attractive topline. Chest is deep and broad with nicely sloped shoulders and deep round barrel. They have fairly a fairly long back the height which gives them greater scope is a jumper accentuated by their high withers. They have well muscled quarters a slightly sloping group and well carried tail. Their legs are very well muscles and of excellent conformation; with good bones and broad joints, well-defined straight tendons and hard feet.

Whilst retaining little of the Arabian influence in their physical appearance they move with an elevated stride which is indicative of the ongoing impact of their Arabian beginnings. Whilst the Pleven is not dramatically different in appearance to other Anglo Arabians the Pleven only comes in one colour namely chestnut. They are small for a sporting horse standing only on average between 154 to 162 cm high at the withers.

The breeding program of the Pleven continues in Bulgaria with efforts being made to increase the size to make it more attractive as an international sporting horse. It’s likely this process is not going to happen overnight is finding horses that can provide the Pleven with the need to increase in bone, size and athleticism whilst retaining the present appearance, colour and temperament of the Pleven will be difficult. Realistically if the breed is going to progress quickly in as development towards international horse export status other colours other than chestnut may need  to be allowed.

The Pleven Horse in Australia
Since Australian breeders of sporting horses have only sought to import horse breeds there were already champions in the horse sporting events of Hunter, showjumping and eventing or breeds that would be able to add to the prowess of the existing Australian bred horses competing in these types of events no one has yet thought to import a Pleven to Australia – most likely because they’re not currently considered champion level horses and they don’t have any particular characteristics likely to improve existing stock