I have read with great interest the threads posted by yourself and the other notable members of this forum with regard to the Russian Unicorn et al. In particular it strikes me when you mention the Russian system compared to the French with regard to the weight of the guns, carriage, ammunitions etc and the opinion of what is acceptable for horses to be bearing in weight and anticipated distance, there is little doubt that there existed specific standards.
I would ask if there was a known uniqueness in the Russian designs of guns and carriages, the configuration of the carriages (transport mode vs firing mode etc)along with all the other logistical requirements of an artillery train that was influenced by the topography and the climate.. For example, wider wheel rims? I expect if this is so, this would have been a matter of great focus and given both professional and detailed attention by astute and well educated individuals. Fortunately for the Russians, they have not generally suffered from the syndrome of "It is only worthy if invented here", which all too often is an insidious contagion in the West. It occurs to me that perhaps some of the distinctly different operational mandate noted in the Russian system with regard to the horses, was as I suspect, due to the great topagraphical and climate difference which affected the load carrying/pulling ability in weight, distance and gait. The topography and climate has claimed notable victims. Just visualize for a moment a WWII German artillery or supply column mired in the fall rains of Russia and the Ukraine with artillery pieces designed for continental Europe being pulled by heavy European draft or carriage horses Then visualize the smaller hardier Russian horses pulling purpose built carriages and wagons over the same roads. The German army died in near quantity from "It is only worthy if invented here" syndrome (from uniform design, type of materials, lubricants, and many weapons designed with too close tolerances) as from battle.
I would ask if there was quite a difference between the breed characteristics of the French artillery horses compared to the Russian horses. Did Russians, pragmatic people that they are in life, take as much care in the selection and breeding artillery & carriage horses and has anyone published specific standards. Is anyone aware of whether or not the topography had an influence on the design and implementation of the Russian Unicorn, both in the barrel, gun carriage and how the horses were harnessed?