Jumper Brianne Goutal explains that her dog Max is a Russian flower.
When my dad was in Russia over a decade ago, he read about a relatively unknown breed of dog and decided to buy three puppies for his three little girls. While this was a wonderful idea in theory, three puppies owned by children all under the age of 15 was a bit hectic. Two of the puppies were quickly given to close family friends, but Max was mine for good!

People always ask me what type of breed Max is, and the answer is actually a bit embarrassing. Max is a St. Petersburg Orchid. That’s right; my dog is essentially a Russian flower. I have never truly believed this is a real breed, and the American Kennel Club does not list it as one.

Since there are no known descriptions of the St. Petersburg Orchid, I think of Max as the standard for the breed. He is extremely intelligent, loyal, and affectionate.
He is almost prissy in his love of comfort. He’s generally found on top of a pillow, blanket, or sweater. Other dogs and getting dirty do not interest him, and he has an obsession with swimming—pool, lake, ocean, you name it. He’s protective of me and never leaves my side except when I am riding, when he obediently stays in the barn.

Max is my favorite travel buddy as I compete around the world, and after a long day of riding, I absolutely love relaxing on the couch with him at my side!

Brianne Goutal is a professional equestrian who has been riding since the age of 4. She made history in 2005 by becoming the only equestrian to win all four finals on the junior circuit: the USEF Talent Search, the WIHS, the USEF Medal, and the Maclay. Currently only 25 years old, Goutal is one of the top up-and-coming show jumpers in the world. She is a graduate of Brown University and lives in Wellington, Fla.