Nadezhda Sokolova surrounded by some of her horses at her Kursk- region farm - Photo: Elena Zobova

RUSSIA (by Elena Zobova) For the 20th anniversary of Breeding News, and specif- ically to support diversity in sport horse breeding, I decided to ask an extremely interesting woman – Nadezhda Sokolova – founder of a Trakehner horse stud located in the Kursk region of Russia, to shares her philosophies. Remarkably, if there was such a thing as a breeding score for trouble-free horses, then Sokolova’s would score very highly as they all have unique ‘liveability’...

This has nothing to do with performance and everything to do with pleasure; the pleasure of the rider and the groom bringing the horse up to its real value. Bringing out the best in it! And, so far, Sokolova’s breeding has seen global success as two of her own- bred dressage horses competed in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games: the extravagant-moving Mister X (Egejus - Derbi x Blank xx) and Inessa Merkulova finished 23rd individually, while Hannoverian Vosk (Vodoley - Sudarynia x Signatur xx) under the saddle of Marina Aframeeva placed just 31st after the Grand Prix, but this marked a real breakthrough for the Russian dressage team.

With her knowlege of genetics and pedigrees, Sokolova has a clear view on what makes a modern sport horse, but alongside her serious breeding goals, she possesses a great sense of humour – all the time reminding me about the one statement that defines her own life, about her breeding, about her horses... “He who does not take risks, does not drink the champagne!”

Q When did you fall in love with Trakehner horses?

Well, I first fell in love with Trakehner horses during my childhood: I competed in dressage with the Trakehner stallion Vsgljad bred at Starozhilovo horse stud, by the Polish imported Grzesznik out of Warzelsija, by Celsius. This horse was universal – he raced, he jumped, he performed in dressage. We were rather successful. I knew Trakehner horses inside out – their history, the sire lines and the dam families, their achievements in sport, so I had no doubt which horses to breed...

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