Even though Russia has a rich and varied equine and equestrian history, western riding and American breeds remain relatively unknown in the largest country in the world. But that is gradually changing. The very first registered American Paint Horse was exported from Austria to Russia this past year.
Last fall, Alexander Burtsev of Moscow purchased Ima Painted Tejon, a 2000 chestnut tobiano stallion. An APHA Champion, Austrian Champion and bronze medalist at the European Paint Horse Championship, “Johnny” has 79 APHA points and ROMs in halter, trail and western pleasure.
By Tejons Little Johnny AQHA and out of Parkers Sonny Miss, the stallion was bred and raised by Franz and Johanna Vorraber of Preding/Weiz, Austria, who sold the horse to Alexander, the first APHA member in Russia.
“It is not only Johnny’s success in the show ring which sets him apart,” said Franz, “but also his character and versatility. He has been successful in halter, trail, pleasure, horsemanship, reining and barrel racing. He is so easy to show that he could even be ridden by novice riders.”
Johnny also passed his positive riding and character to his offspring, says Franz. To date, the stallion has 36 registered foals, earners of 113 APHA points and championship titles at the EPHC and the Paint Horse Club Germany Futurity.
A trainer and horse show judge, Franz first met Alexander on a visit to Moscow.
“Western riding is not as well known in Russia as it is in Western Europe,” said Franz. “But western riding there is continuously getting more followers and fans that are looking for good horses for the sport.”
Attracted by Johnny’s confirmation and disposition, Alexander knew that this stallion would be a great addition to the Western riding scene in Moscow.
“In Russia, our Federation organizes four shows annually with five disciplines: trail, pleasure, horsemanship, western riding and reining,” said Alexander. “Without good horses, it’s very hard to raise the level of our championship.”
With Johnny, it was love at first sight. “Such a stallion as Johnny is the pride not only my stables but also of our entire community of Western sports fans,” Alexander said. “Johnny taught many of our riders with his good character and fantastic handling.”
Alexander plans to continue competing with his stallion and start a Paint Horse breeding program in Russia. “I hope Johnny will father many wonderful foals,” he said.