Akhal-Teke

Akhal-Teke

conformation fine, thin head, slightly dished, lean, high-set
neck, sloping shoulders, long back, clean legs
colour chestnut, bay, grey, palomino (isabella), black, dun,
all except black having an iridescent sheen . legal
height 14.2-15.2 hands
uses riding, competition, endurance

Exotic and proud, this golden equine aristocrat has been . revered for some 3,000 years – among his many fans were Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan, Roman emperors and Marco Polo. But he is not truly Russian in origin: he pre dates the founding of the Soviet State by thousands of years.He actually comes from the Kara Kum Desert in Turkmenia, a testing place for the toughest people and the toughest equines. The Turkmene would never have survived without the Akhal-Teke and vice versa, and he takes his name from Turkmenian tribe, Teke, that lived at the Akhal oasis.

Akhal-Teke horse

Akhal-Teke horse

This is a horse of great beauty — and great antiquity; older Thélrl the Arab. Images of the Akhal-Teke hgrge dated to the 9th century BC are found in the territory between the Caucasus and Luristan. To the Turkmene, he was invaluable harsh desert, a good horse could mean the airrereaoe occupied about 90 per cent of Turkmenistan, with no hope of survival for a horse unless he could tolerate extreme heat, dry cold and drought. Fresh grass was available for only a few months of the year; the domesticated Turkmene horse had to survive on meagre rations, generally high-protein grains mixed with animal fat.

Akhal-Teke horse

Akhal-Teke horse

ln return, the tribesmen cared for their horses, feeding them by hand and blanketing them in the coldest weather they were rightly proud of their beautiful equine partners. Acid to this day; the sensitive Akhal-Teke will bond closely with humans, although he can be stubborn.The horses were first brought to Russia about 500 years ago, when they were known as Argamaks, meaning ’tall and rehned’. Russia annexed Turkmenistan in the 1880s, and the first oficial. Axkhal – Teke stud, Zakaspiisky was founded using the best stock. Among these was the stallion Boinou, forebear of some of the breeding lines used today.

The Akhal-Teke has influenced many modern breeds,including the Arab and the Thoroughbred – it is possible the Byerley Turk was an Akhal-Teke — as well as Russia’s native breeds such as the Don and the Budenny. The Akhal-Teke has often been given to heads of state as a gesture of goodwill. ln 1956, Nikita Khrushchev presented Queen Elizabeth ll with a stallion called Melekush. He was a magnificent golden dun with the breed’s distinctive metallic sheen, so much so that the Queen’s grooms spent some time trying to clean off what they thought was polish – the stallion’s silky coat glowed all the brighter for the wash.

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