‘The majority will refuse to move’: horses from the Central Moscow Hippodrome transferred to Kazan

The Tatarstan capital is ready to welcome about 60 pedigree trotters during a renovation in the Central Moscow Hippodrome

As Realnoe Vremya found out, Kazan International Equestrian Complex agreed to receive 56 elite trotters from the Central Moscow Hippodrome — the horses are transferred to regions because of the closure of the hippodrome for renovation. Since 31 March, the administration of the Moscow hippodrome unilaterally terminated service contracts with all horse owners who kept about 400 best pedigree horses in the country here. “More people would like this, but there aren’t vacant seats in Kazan anymore,” the administration of Russian Hippodromes complained. Meanwhile, Kazan horse owners are concerned about the sudden reduction of stalls for their horses.

Kazan to receive about 60 trotters from Moscow

The “great migration” of elite pedigree horses from the stables of the Central Moscow Hippodrome, which is about to start these days, agitated the Tatarstan capital too. As Realnoe Vremya found out, Kazan International Equestrian Complex turned out one of the several locations in the periphery where private horse owners from Moscow are offered to move. The administration of Russian Hippodromes agreed with the administration of the Kazan International Equestrian Complex to provide additional space for about 60 pedigree trotters. Both companies looking for free space to transport the animals confirmed the information about this.

“Few horses are going to move to Kazan,” Russian Hippodromes managing the arena of the Central Moscow Hippodrome specified for Realnoe Vremya. “A total of some 60 head will be transported to Kazan. Two lots of 20 horses are planned to be transported first, then there is going to be another lot of 16 head. At the moment this is the whole amount claimed to travel to Kazan.”

Photo: Oleg Tikhonov/realnoevremya.ru

So about 15-16% of the total number of horses rehoused from the Central Moscow Hippodrome can be temporarily kept here. The first lot is expected to arrived in the Kazan hippodrome in early April, while the whole evacuation operation will end in May. As a result, the Kazan International Equestrian Complex will be a hundred per cent full, the press service of the Tatarstan Ministry of Agriculture specified citing the director of the equestrian complex.

The number of delegated trotters is limited because of the banal shortage of space in Kazan stables.

“The Kazan International Equestrian Complex confirmed the readiness to receive about 60 pedigree trotters, no more. As far as I am concerned, there are more horses willing to come to Kazan but there is no free space,” Russian Hippodromes noted.

However, they didn’t name the rent rate of stalls in Kazan and assess the quality of conditions because it is more important to find free space.

“I cannot say anything about prices and infrastructure of the Kazan hippodrome,” a representative of the company noted in a talk with Realnoe Vremya. “But the arrival of pedigree trotters will become a good acquisition for the Kazan Hippodrome because the Central Moscow Hippodrome had the best of the best in the country. Moreover, the horses will come to Kazan together with world-class riders.”

The animals are transferred because of the upcoming closure of the Central Moscow Hippodrome for renovation. Moscow authorities announced this as early as March. The renovation of the historical facility on Begovaya Street will take almost three years. “It is planned to start in mid-May, start construction works in the hippodrome and end in 2.5 years,” said Director General of Russian Hippodromes Dmitry Zaytsev. Due to this, the administration of the Central Moscow Hippodrome unilaterally terminated stall rent and service contracts with all horse owners. They lost their force on 31 March.

“The agreements were terminated, nevertheless, the horses stay in the hippodrome,” the administration of the company told Realnoe Vremya. “Of course, they won’t stay forever, just because there is an opportunity in the hippodrome.”

Moscow horse owners confirmed for Realnoe Vremya that they aren’t yet expelled from the territory of the Central Moscow Hippodrome. The communication with the Kazan hippodrome was official, horses of private owners will move to the capital of the republic. “We cannot influence it. If they want, they will come. If they don’t want, there will be other options. But Kazan provides possibilities for transportation,” the Central Moscow Hippodrome said.

According to the company’s representative, nowadays there are 380-400 trotters today. About 100 of them will be transferred to Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod. When the construction of new stables in the Ramenskoye Hippodrome near Moscow will end, another 175-180 horses will travel. Free spaces for owners of another 75 horses are needed.

In general about 90% of horse owners chose a new place for their horses in other hippodromes. “But some refuse to leave the places with the contracts that expired on 31 March,” said the director general of Russian Hippodromes.

According to Zaytsev, owners of some 50 head refuse to leave the rented stalls. “Some chose a hippodrome, for instance, in Tambov where there aren’t vacant stalls now but 40 are expected in June. In other words, there was submitted an application, but one cannot move into the hippodrome today, one has to wait,” explained the head of the Central Moscow Hippodrome.

Five kilometres from the Kremlin: the renovation of the Central Moscow Hippodrome to cost 19bn rubles

The renovation of the Central Moscow Hippodrome was announced for the first time as early as August 2022. As Kommersant wrote, the initiative was launched by the city administration of Moscow and the Russian Ministry of Agriculture that sent a joint petition to Russian President Vladimir Putin who approved the undertaking. It is planned that not only tracks and horse stalls will be renovated in the hippodrome but also the historical building is going to be restored. Also, it is located five kilometres from the Moscow Kremlin, and the last time it was renovated was in the early 1990s. 19 billion rubles of private investment in exchange for housing development are due to be allocated for the renovation. The probable renovation term is nearly three years.

Earlier, a horse owner with 20 horses moved to Ulyanovsk. This coach had a rider training school, but these horses aren’t in the registry because they aren’t pedigree trotters. Race horses moved out of the Central Moscow Hippodrome last October.

“As for us, Muscovites, we won’t go to Moscow!”

Meanwhile, not all Moscow horse owners are ready to move to Kazan. According to the administration of Russian Hippodromes, about 10% haven’t decided where to move, even though the rent contract was terminated on 31 March. Legally, 31 March was the last day of training in the Central Moscow Hippodrome. “The contracts were terminated, but the horses stay in the hippodrome. Of course, they won’t stay forever, but there is yet an opportunity to remain in the hippodrome,” the administration of the Moscow hippodrome said. They explain that they cannot influence the trip to Kazan. “If they want, they will, if they don’t, there will be other options. But Kazan provides opportunities for the move.”

“Perhaps, somebody will go, but most Muscovites will refuse to move to Kazan,” Moscow horse owner Valery Gavrilin is sure. “Those horses that don’t belong to Moscow owners will move. Why? Their owners live in Siberia, the hippodrome in Omsk closed, they will be transferred to Kazan. They don’t care where the horse is kept if it travels across the country in a private plane. According to him, somebody moved to Nizhny Novgorod, somebody is looking for a place in Voronezh and Oryol. “Nobody is going to Kazan because it is far enough from Moscow. Both Kazan and Siberia are equally far for us,” he says.

In his opinion, the renovation of the Central Moscow Hippodrome will lead to the loss of horse breeding in Russia. “The situation in the mass media is presented so that as if there is a conflict between the administration of the Moscow hippodrome and private horse owners renting stalls and using services of the hippodrome. Due to the closure for renovation, the hippodrome is terminating contracts, while horse owners allegedly don’t want to refuse these services. This is wrong. The trotter breeding sector is gradually destroyed, hippodromes are closely slowly. The country has 17-26 hippodromes in 2011 when Russian Hippodromes were created. Now 16 are left. A hippodrome in Krasnoyarsk that is in the top 6 best hippodromes of the country was going to be sold recently. If a project is implemented, then it turns into an ordinary equestrian complex. We, as patriots of the country, try to impede this in every way,” he believes. The horse owners staying in Moscow are going to stand up for their rights in the court. However, Russian Hippodromes assure us that the situation is excessively dramatised and citizens of the capital will see a renovated hippodrome by 2026.

Luiza Ignatyeva