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Dedicated to the promotion of the Akhal-Teke

One of the most ancient and unique breeds of the world the Akhal-Teke was created in Southern Turkmenia by the "Teke" tribe on the "Akhal" oasis. It is the most distinctive strain of the ancient race of horses known as the Turkoman or Turkmene. Directly descended from the wild steppe horse, the Turkoman is the legendary horse from Fergana and Bactria where it was called the Bactrian or Turanian horse and used by the great leaders Darius and Alexander. The cavalry of Darius was mounted on this "horse of quality" and very successful because of it. In Chinese legends it was known as the "heavenly horse" and the "horse that sweats blood". The Chinese attacked Bactria in 126 B.C. solely to obtain some of these "heavenly blood sweating horses", such was their reputation.

Located in Southern Turkmenistan, away from the trade routes, bordered by the Kara Kum desert and Kopet Dag mountains, the Akhal oasis is in an area not subjected to continual conquest or occupation. This isolation, along with the great pride the Teke tribesmen took in the purity of their: horses has produced a breed of ancient line's and great purity.

As the chief mount of Turkoman warriors for centuries, the Akhal-Teke developed endless stamina and, from the harsh desert environment, the ability to withstand great extremes of temperature. With fresh forage available only three months of the year in the arid desert the Teke tribesmen developed their own special methods of horse managem nt. Kept in small bands, tethered to stakes and blanketed, the Akhal. Teke were fed pellets consisting of alfalfa, barley and mutton fat. This type of management resulted in a horse that can subsist on small amounts of food and water, becomes devoted to its master and is suspicious of strangers. Being outside continuously the blanketing protected them from the extreme swings in desert temperatures. The blanketing also enhanced the metallic sheen of their coat which is a source of great pride for the owners. The prevailing color is gold; either as golden dun, golden bay or golden chestnut though other colors do occur. This special golden color with a metallic sheen is genetically distinct and is a unique characteristic of the breed.

The Akhal-Teke is a true desert bred horse with a light, elegant build and an original and distinctive conformation: long, tapering, aristocratic face; beautifully shaped mobile ears; wide nostrils and large expressive eyes having a proud fiery gaze, The neck is straight, long and often thin, set high on excellent sloping shoulders. Very prominent withers; body long, lean, narrow and sinewy with pronounced croup and sloping hindquarters. Legs long and dry; good forearms and hocks well let down with short cannons of dense bone; the hooves are small with a thick wall of strong horn. A characteristic feature is the sparse short mane and forelock and absence of feather on the legs. The skin is very thin with a short, fine and silky coat. The overall effect is of the long, lean grace of a greyhound. Magnificent action, free and flowing: in all paces a soft, gliding, elastic stride. Quiet temperment, but easily aroused. Bold, Alert and intelligent; responding well to sensitive training.Normal height 15 to 16hh, weight 900 to 1000 pounds.

Originally bred as war mounts, then for racing the Akhal-Teke now is used in all competitive equine sports such as endurance, dressage, jumping and eventing. They are also used extensively in circuses. In the 1960 Olympics, ABSENT an Akhal-Teke stallion won the gold medal in dressage with Sergai Filytov riding. By the end of his career, ABSENT had won six Olympic dressage medals, more than any other horse. In Russia, Akhal-Teke stallions are used for upgrading local breeds and for producing warm blooded sport horses when crossed with larger coarser stock. It is just now being recognized that the Akhal-Teke played a substantial part in the creation of many of todays light breeds while being referred to as an Arabian: Arabian in those days being a generic term for any horse of middle east origin. It is interesting to speculate about the role the Akhal-Teke played in the development of the Thoroughbred. Careful study of what is known of the Byerley Turk indicate it was most probably an Akhal-Teke and that the Darley Arabian was of the Muniqi strain of Arabians and carried a large portion of Akhal- Teke blood.

Early in this century the purity of the breed was threatened as thoroughbred stallions were introduced in some lines in an attempt to improve the racing speed. Fortunately, in 1935 the purebreds proved their endurance and stamina in the famous 2700 mile trek from Ashkabad to Moscow which they covered in 84 days. At one point they crossed 225 miles of desert in 3 days, virtually without water. This convinced the authorities the Akhal-Teke should be preserved in its pure form and all outcrossing was stopped. The Russians now consider the Akhal-Teke part of a genetic fund of exceptional value, a remnant of that precious fund that gave rise to breeding of saddle horses throughout the world.

Today the Akhal-Teke is quite rare by modern breed standards, with less than 2000 existing worldwide. The major population of about 1400 is in Russia, with the second largest group of about 200 in West Germany. Here in the United States there are fewer than 100.

THE AKHAL-TEKE STUD was founded with the importation of the first Akhal-Teke, a stallion *SENETIR, into the United States in 1979, followed by a mare, *OLIVA, in 1980. These two horses were purchased at the Moscow Auction in September 1978. Through additional importation and breeding the Akhal-Teke Stud has grown to more than 40 purebred and several halfbred Akhal-Teke.

As their numbers in the USA increase, we believe the Akhal-Teke will distinguish itself as an elegant all purpose athlete and, with its linebred prepotency, make a major contribution to American sporthorses through crossbreeding for performance.

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