Akhal Teke Horse

Origin: USSR – Turkoman Steppes.Akhal Teke Horse

Height: 14.2-15.2hh.
Color: The prevailing color is gold, either as golden dun, golden bay, or golden chestnut, and the coat often has a metallic bloom. Other colors occur – gray and bay are quite common. Sometimes has white markings.

Character: Bold, self-willed. Can be obstinate and bad-tempered.

Physique: Delicate head with a long, straight face, large, expressive eyes, and long ears. Long, thin neck, set high on an excellent, sloping shoulder.

Very pronounced withers. Tendency to narrow chest. Body long, lean, narrow, and sinewy, with pronounced croup and sloping hindquarters. Tail low-set.Legs long and hard and sinewy. Mane and tail are short and sparse and very silky, and in some instances, there is virtually no mane or forelock. The general effect is of the sinewy grace of a greyhound. Magnificent action, free and flowing; in all paces a soft, gliding, elastic stride.

The Akhal-Teke is the most distinctive strain of the ancient race of horses known as Turk oman, or Turkmen, which have played such a successful part in the mounted warfare of the past 2,000-3,000 years. Akhal-Tees have been bred separately since time out of mind – there are indications of horses of the Akhal-Tek6 type existing as long ago as 500 BC.

They are supremely resilient horses, conditioned by centuries of exposure to extremes of heat and cold in the deserts of central Asia. An Akhal-Teke reported to have crossed 900 miles of desert without a drink of water, and the famous 1935 trek from Ashland to Moscow (2,672 miles) involving and lo mud horses included 225 miles of desert which we recovered in a waterless three days.

As with all breeds of horses which are the prized possession of nomadic desert tribes, Akhal-Tees have been subjected to some curious methods of handling. They were often kept swathed in blankets throughout the year and were fed a concentrated diet including such unlikely things as mutton fat. These practices continue into the present day: the Akhal-Tek6 is valued as a racehorse and is kept in training wearing the traditional seven blankets(each of which has a separate name) and eating a light, high-protein diet. Clothing is worn at all times except during the brief intervals of racing, and breeding, and for a few minutes at sundown to air the horse’s skin.

Horse in training is fed eggs and butter mixed with barley, also bread dough fried in butter.
The Akhal-Teke is potentially the best of the many magnificent Russian saddle horses. It has speed, grace, and versatility, and is marred only by itself-assertive temperament. It is a superb jumper on its day, though when the mood takes it wrong it will refuse and there is little its rider can do to change its mind; it has a natural bent for dressage – the gold medal for the Grand Prix de Dressage at the Rome Olympics (1960) was won by an Akhal-Teke stallion. The Turk oman, and in particular its offshoot the Akhal-Teke, is very possibly the ancestor of the Arab.

See more: Horse Behavior

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