Absent: the pride of the soviet equestrian sports
”In the sport of Kings and princes, a Russian defeated them all. Ladies and gentlemen, barons and baronesses, the entire beau monde gave their way and the palm of victory in the most elegant form of equestrian sports to Sergei Filatov. He beat everyone on his raven Akhal-Teke Absent. It was a triumph! This is an event that means for the national equestrian sports as much as the first human space flight.”
S. I. Filatov (“Rome is applauding”, 1962)
The stallion Absent can probably be named the most famous horse of the Soviet Union. A black headstrong Akhal-Teke under the saddle of Sergei Filatov, more than once it became the champion of the USSR and the prize-winner of the Olympic Games, a branch of its breed was the pride of our country.
Absent was born in 1952 at the Dzhambul Plant #49. Its breeding branch went back to the nineteenth century. As for its immediate family, Absent’s father was the famous light grey Akhal-Teke Arab and its mother - a buckskin mare named Baccara. The stallion was brought up at the Lugovsky horse breeding plant which was transferred all Akhal-Teke livestock from the Dzhambul Plant in 1955.
Arab. Father of Absent
At the Exhibition of National Economy Achievements, the elegant black beauty Absent, with a white star on its forehead and white stockings on its legs, amazed everybody. They admired the wonderful harmony of its forms and elegance, as well as smooth, soft, sculpted movements.
Meeting with Filatov
Absent was first given to Sergei Ivanovich Filatov in 1958, two years before the Olympic Games in Rome. The initial specialization of the stallion was show jumping, however, it was trained in dressage at the Lugovsky Plant as well. Despite that fact, it was not easy for Filatov to train Absent to deliver the right width of a step. But they had two years before the Olympics and the athlete was fully dedicated to training with the horse within that time.
Absent was very capable. The quickness to learn and improve the performance of all elements, smooth change of its gait in allure, as well as its natural gifts - ease and breadth of trotting and galloping movements, flexibility, flawless exterior - all that made the stallion the national leader in dressage within a year. In the summer of 1959, Filatov and Absent went abroad to Leipzig for an agricultural exhibition of the socialist countries. In the same year, the equestrian pair won the Champions title of the Spartakiade of the USSR in dressage in the individual competition. And then there were the Pre-Olympics competitions in St. Gallen in Switzerland. Again, the prize. We were the second.
It's amazing how a temperamental horse with a headstrong character managed to learn all the elements of the Grand Prix within 2 years! Talking about the training of Absent, Sergei Filatov frequently named Nikolai Sitko - the famous army rider who had taught the entire Soviet Cavalry army for over 50 years. The athlete himself had a highly creative approach to working with the stallion. For example, Absent had a disadvantage, it did not hang its feet vertically while gently raised its legs with the necessary promotion. Sergei invented a device in the form of a long pole with a straight corner and when making the passage, directly from the saddle, put it to the front legs of the horse. And he did teach the stallion to make the element correctly!
All roads lead to Rome
The transportation of the stallion to Rome was very difficult. During the journey, Absent changed the means of transport for three times. Up to Odessa the horse was transported in the wagon, then by sea to Italy, and then again in the wagon. However, the progress does not stand still and modern horses, fortunately, are experiencing much less stress during transportation.
The competition began on September 5. There were 17 competitors for the Grand Prix. Among them: the two-time Olympic champion, a Swede, Henry Saint-Cyr; an American, Patricia Galvin; the famous Germans: Nekkerman and Springer, the Swiss : Chammartin and Fisher ...
Filatov performed in complete silence of the vast Piazzas di Siena. The Grand Prix program was done perfectly and in complete silence by the pair of Filatov-Absent. When it ended, the stadium exploded with applause. After reviewing the records of all participants, the judges’ verdict was: the Olympic champion - Sergei Filatov on Absent!
Absent participated in three Olympics. Paired with Filatov in Rome in 1960 and in Tokyo in 1964, it won gold and bronze; in Mexico City in 1968 it came fourth under the saddle of Ivan Kalita.
Absent - breeder
Within ten years, Absent became the father of more than 70 foals. Among them: the breed record Amethyst, as well as Elba, Dombai, Abakan, Argument, Aconite. A lot of victories were won on Abakan, a male offspring of Absent, under the saddle of the honored master of sports, the World, European and Olympic Champion, Elena Vladimirovna Petushkova. Today the blood of Absent flows in the Russian riding breed.
Absent lived for 23 years. It is pictured in a monument at the Lugovsky Plant but this sculpture does not quite capture the essence of this remarkable horse. Absent embodied in the monument bears no resemblance to itself. However, there are the magnificent portraits of Absent under the saddle of S. Filatov created by the famous sculptor, honored artist Joseph Ivanovich Kozlovsky. They were made shortly after the victory of this duo at the Olympics in Rome.
Based on materials from www.hod.vsau.ru