Any horse breed with the word “Anglo” in it means that part of its genetic make-up was from Thoroughbreds. At one time back in the 1700s, Thoroughbreds were known as English Horse or even Anglo Horses. Many people today refer to the breed as the English Thoroughbred. In the case of the Anglo-Kabardin, Thoroughbreds were crossed with the local breed, Karbardin (also known as the Kabarda or the Kabardinskaya).
Karbardas and Anglo-Kabardins originated in the Northern Caucasus are of the Karbardino-Balkar Republic, which used to be part of the Soviet Union. Both breeds were bred by the local peoples of the area. They needed a strong, speedy mount that could thrive on sparse fodder and a fog-shrouded mountainous terrain. The Kabardin was tough, but the Anglo-Kabardin gave an extra dash of desired speed while still being sure-footed.
Both breeds had to be tough. The locals do not have stables, but keep the horses outside all year round in herds known as “taboons”. They also rarely, if ever, give the horses any hay or grain, although some studs do try to give extra feed during harsh winters. The horses have to forage for themselves on whatever plant life they can find. They need to be surefooted, strong and to intelligent in order to survive.
And here was the basic problem presented to the Karbardin breeders. Thoroughbreds have a nasty tendency to die in “taboon” conditions. The breeders had to add just enough Thoroughbred blood to add size and speed but not so much that the horses would die from the local environment.
According to “International Encyclopedia of Horse Breeds” (University of Oklahoma Press, 1995), three bay Thoroughbred stallions were chosen to be crossed on the best Kabardin mares. The first was the dark bay Lok-Sen, who was foaled in 1923. The other two, Lukki and Lestorik were foaled in 1935. Modern Anglo-Karbardas can have up to 75% Thoroughbred blood, but most only have 25% to 35%.
The Anglo-Kabardin is a slightly taller and more refined version of the Karbardin. They average 15.2 – 16 hands in height, while the Karbardin only averages 15 – 15.2 hands. The Anglo-Kabardin also has a more sloping shoulder, longer legs and a slightly longer neck than the Kabardin. Many individuals have the Roman nose and sickle hocks given to them by the Kabardin. But they also inherited the intelligence, healthy legs, level back and toughness.
Horses are still an important means of transportation around the Caucasus because the terrain does not allow for roads. Horses are still used for every day travel, for carrying packs and in the tourism industry. They have excellent stamina. The locals also race them. The breed makes a noise whenever they enter horse sports such as three-day eventing.
“International Encyclopedia of Horse Breeds.” Bonnie Hendricks. University of Oklahoma Press; 1995.
CircassianWorld.com. “Kabardin Horses.” (Also includes information on Anglo-Kabardins.) http://www.circassianworld.com/kabardin.html
JustUsHorses.com. “Kabardin and Karabakh Horses.” http://www.justushorses.com/flex/kabardin-and-karabakh-horse/77/1