Akhal-Teke Horse


The Akhal-Tekkiner - the noble sport horse from Turkmenistan

The Akhal-Tekkin originally comes from Turkmenistan and is one of the most beautiful and at the same time oldest riding horse breeds in the world. As representatives of a breed that has been in operation for more than 2,000 years, the highly noble-looking horses have been causing a stir in Europe for around 30 years. Her exotic and unbroken noble exterior as well as the unique elegance of her movements never leave viewers and horse lovers fascinated. The name of the horse breed goes back to the nomadic tribe of the Teke, who lived in the hot steppes and desert areas of Turkmenistan. The area of ​​origin, the oasis of Akhal-Teke, lies between the Karakum desert and the northern edge of the Kopet-Dag Mountains, stretches over a narrow strip of 100 kilometers in length, and is named after the Teke tribe of Turkmen who live there.

From this area and through thousands of years of breeding efforts by Central Asian tribes and peoples, the Akhal-Teke breed emerged, which is mainly used for endurance rides and horse races, but also inspires as showjumping, dressage, and riding a horse. Due to the earlier isolation in the desert and the extreme climatic conditions, the Akhal-Teke is still characterized by a high level of endurance, extreme hardness, and frugality. Together with its versatile riding dispositions, the Akhal-Tekkiner is a noble and powerful sport horse that has often caused a sensation in international tournaments. Its external appearance is unmistakable, traditional, and not comparable to other breeds, but completely independent.

The exterior of the Akhal-Teke

The Akhal-Teke is characterized by a height of about 150 to 160 centimeters out. While mares should reach a height of about 150 to 166 centimeters, the ideal height at the withers for stallions is 154 to 168 centimeters. The appearance of this majestic breed appears dry and noble, starting with the light and noble shaped, dry and finely chiseled head with a straight to convex profile. In addition to the broad forehead, the large, almond-shaped eyes and the movable, high-set and thin ears are striking. The neck is high, long, and straight and merges into well-muscled, long, and sloping shoulders. Other characteristics of the noble-looking build include a deep and muscular chest, well-defined and long withers, oval ribs, a straight back, and a well-muscled croup.

With the coat colors, all colorations occur except pintos. Black horses, foxes, and bay horses as well as greys, isabellas, and duns appear. Typical of the breed is the sometimes strong markings and above all the gold or silver shading, which usually shows up as a golden metallic shimmer that makes the coat shine in a strikingly beautiful way. Last but not least, the extremely thin, almost silky coat is characteristic of the Akhal-Teke. The mane and tail are often missing entirely or are extremely thin and short. 


The Akhal-Teke and its Interior

The Akhal-Tekkiner is a very persistent, hard and elegant horse that convinces with a pronounced intelligence and a high level of frugality . Basically, the breed is characterized by a high level of undemanding in terms of food and water, extreme stamina and a high willingness to perform as well as energetic behavior and a quick reaction and acceleration ability. Akhal-Teke are particularly agile and supple, heat-resistant and resistant to diseases as well as extremely capable of learning and strong in character

Breeding history and origin

The Akhal-Tekkin is one of the oldest horse breeds in the world, has been bred in its area of ​​origin Turkmenistan for around 3,000 years and originally comes from the area of ​​the “Achal” oasis, which belonged to the “Teke” Turkmen tribe. The breed is the unique result of breeding efforts by various Central Asian steppe peoples and developed over thousands of years. Their development should be viewed against the background that in the eventful history of Central Asia, the better horse often decided the victory or defeat of entire peoples. While the breeding area today includes several countries from Turkmenistan to Kazakhstan to Afghanistan, the breed was even known in China before the beginning of the Christian era.

The population experienced a significant decimation through raids and armed conflicts before Timur Lenk, a Central Asian military leader of the 14th century, ensured a refresher by crossing Arabian mares. In modern times, the Akhal-Teke has been widely used to refine European horse breeds . Above all, the stallion Turcmainatti, who came from Russia, played a decisive role, since he was kept at a stud farm in Neustadt an der Dosse from 1791 and used as a stallion for Trakehner mares. This mating resulted in 16 sires who were then used in several state studs and in the Trakehnen main stud. Turcmainatti was officially classified as a thoroughbred Arabianled, but it can be assumed that it was an Akhal-Tekkiner. The same applies to Byerley Turk, for example, who is considered one of the three main founders of the English thoroughbred. The high quality of the breed was preserved until the conquest of Turkmenia at the end of the 19th century.

However, during the tsarist colonial rule, only small stud farms with one stallion and one or two broodmares could be operated, since the Teke people no longer had sufficient space to roam and the Russian government showed no interest in the Turkmen horse breed. At the same time, however, Afghanistan, Iran, Germany and especially England were interested in the noble horses and imported valuable breeding material from the area of ​​origin. In 1904 and 1905, 214 of the best broodmares were exported to England. The resulting threatening situation for the Akhal-Tekkin breed was mitigated by the commitment of breeders and by the use of a few horses with appealing breeding qualities.

The first stud book of the Akhal-Teke breed was opened in 1917 and it is still kept in Russia, although Turkmenistan claims to keep the stud book. From 1920 onwards, English thoroughbreds were crossed in for refinement, but with moderate success, so that all Akhal-Teke horses born from these crosses and born after 1936 were no longer recognized as purebred. Today, the breed is bred exclusively as pure breeds . The studbook is closed.

The Akhal-Tekkin convinces as a versatile riding horse

Akhal-Teke horses have versatile dispositions and are primarily used as racehorses in breed-specific races over long distances in their area of ​​origin. With their great stamina and hardness, they prove to be the ideal sport horse for endurance riding. At the same time, there are Akhal-Teke horses who have made a name for themselves in dressage, including the black stallion Absent, for dressage experts unforgettable. In 1960 he won gold at the Olympic Games in Rome under the rider Sergej Filatow, achieved numerous other top placings and enjoyed the highest recognition among equestrian experts. Last but not least, Akhal-Teke horses are almost always characterized by above-average jumping ability. In Germany, too, some representatives of the breed have already demonstrated their natural talent in jumping competitions. The high jump record of the Akhal-Tekkiner stallion Poligon is an incredible 2.25 meters. Regardless of the discipline, the movement of the Akhal-Teke is always in rhythm, expansive, elastic and energetic. Also noticeable is the good cantering ability in flat canter strides.

Peculiarities of the Akhal-Teke

One of the special features of the breed is undoubtedly its extreme endurance , which goes far beyond the usual level of a horse. In 1935, for example, an Akhal-Teke horse rode 4,300 kilometers from Ashabad to Moscow without any problems. In addition, some of the senses of the Turkmen horses are particularly sensitive, including their extraordinary balance behavior, their high degree of surefootedness even on difficult ground, their excellent sense of smell and hearing as well as their very sensitive sense of touch and pronounced attachment. With regard to their husbandry, it is advisable to keep plenty of exercise and good stable air. The so-called robust posture, on the other hand, is unsuitable. In their home country, Akhal-Tekkiner are kept in free-ranging herds, the so-called tabuns, in the extensive steppes, tended by mounted shepherds. The breed is also the heraldic animal of Turkmenistan.

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