Akhal-Teke horse — very ancient and the most beautiful in the world. The breed originated in Turkmenistan in Soviet times, later spread to the territory of Kazakhstan, Russia, Uzbekistan. This breed of horse can be found in almost all countries, from Europe to Asia, in North and South America, as well as in Africa.
Origin of the species and description
Today, there are more than 250 breeds of horses that have been bred by man for many centuries in the world. The Akhal-Teke breed stands apart as a horse breeding patrol. It took more than three millennia to create this breed. The exact date of the first appearance of the Akhal-Teke breed is unknown, but the earliest references date back to the 4th-3rd centuries BC. Bucephalus, the favorite horse of Alexander the Great, was an Akhal-Teke horse.
Breeding secrets were passed down from father to son. The horse was their first friend and closest ally. Modern Akhal-Teke horses have inherited the best features of their ancestors. Pride of Turkmens, Akhal-Teke horses — part of the state emblem of sovereign Turkmenistan.
Video: Akhal-Teke Horse
Akhal-Teke horses originated from the ancient Turkmen horse, which was one of the four original «types» horses that crossed the Bering Strait from America in prehistoric times. Initially, it was bred by the Turkmen tribes. Currently, Akhal-Teke horses live in other provinces of the south of the former USSR.
The Akhal-Teke horse is a Turkmen breed that originates in the southern region of the modern country of Turkmenistan. These horses have been known as cavalry horses and racehorses for 3,000 years. The Akhal-Teke horse has an excellent natural gait and is an outstanding sport horse in the field. The Akhal-Teke horse hails from an arid, barren environment.
During its history, it has earned a reputation for excellent endurance and courage. The key to the endurance of Akhal-Teke horses is a diet that is low in food but high in protein and often includes butter and eggs mixed with barley. Today, Akhal-Teke horses are used in show and dressage in addition to daily saddle use.
The breed itself is not very numerous and is represented by 17 species:
- state farm-2;
- everdi telecom;
- ak belek;
- ak sakal;
- kir sakar;
Identification is carried out using DNA analysis, horses receive a registration number and a passport. Purebred Akhal-Teke horses are listed in the State Stud Book.
Appearance and features
The Akhal-Teke horse is distinguished by a dry physique, exaggerated appearance, thin skin, often with a metallic sheen of wool, a long neck with a light head. Often Akhal-Teke horses can be seen with an eagle eye. This breed is used for riding and is quite hardy for this work. Riding on representatives of the Akhal-Teke breed will please even the most skilled racer, they move quite softly and hold themselves correctly without swaying.
Akhal-Teke horses have characteristic flat muscles and thin bones. Their body is often compared to that of a greyhound horse or a cheetah – it has a thin trunk and a deep chest. The profile of the face of the Akhal-Teke horse is flat or slightly convex, but some look like moose. She may have almond-shaped or hooded eyes.
The horse has thin, long ears and back, a flat body and sloping shoulders. Her mane and tail are sparse and thin. Overall, this horse has an air of stiffness and strong endurance. In fact, it is considered a disadvantage for this breed to be fat or very weak. Akhal-Teke horses fascinate with their diversity and breathtaking color. The rarest colors found in the breed: deer, nightingale, isabella, just gray and raven, golden bay, red, and in almost all colors there is a golden or silver metallic sheen.
Where does the Akhal-Teke horse live?
The Akhal-Teke horse is native to the Kara Kum desert in Turkmenistan, but their numbers have dwindled since some of the best horses were taken to Russia under Soviet rule. Turkmens would never have survived without Akhal-Teke horses, and vice versa. The Turkmen were the first people in the desert to create a horse that was perfect for the environment. Today, the goal is to try to breed more of these horses.
The modern Akhal-Teke horse is the perfect result of millennia-old “survival of the fittest” theory. They have been subjected to unprecedented environmental rigors and trials by their owners.
To make the Akhal-Teke horse’s beautiful iridescent coat look spectacular, you need to bathe and groom your horse regularly. Each grooming session will also give these animals the attention they need and strengthen your bond with the horse.
Basic horse grooming tools, including horse shampoo, hoof picker, brush, comb , casting blade, mane comb, tail brush and body brush can be used to thoroughly remove dirt, excess hair and other debris from the entire body of the horse.
What does the Akhal-Teke horse eat?
Akhal-Teke horses are one of the few horse breeds in the world that have been fed rations of meat and meat fats to combat harsh (and usually grass-free) living conditions in Turkmenistan. Turkmens understand the training of horses very well; by developing the action of the animal, they manage to reduce its food, and especially water, to an incredible minimum. Dried alfalfa is replaced with chopped julienne, and our four-barley oats are mixed with lamb.
Here are the best types of food for them:
- Grass is their natural food and is great for the digestive system (although beware of your horse eating too much lush grass in the spring as this can cause laminitis). Make sure you also completely clear your pasture of any plants that might be harmful to horses;
- Hay keeps the horse healthy and his digestive system working well, especially during the cold months of autumn to early spring when no pasture available;
- fruit or vegetables — they add moisture to the feed. A full length carrot cut is perfect;
- concentrates — if the horse is old, young, nursing, pregnant, or competing, a veterinarian may recommend concentrates such as cereals, oats, barley, and corn. This gives the horse energy. Be aware that this can be dangerous if you mix the wrong amounts or combinations, causing mineral imbalances.
Personalities and Lifestyles
The Akhal-Teke horse is an incredibly tough breed that has adapted to the harsh conditions of its homeland. She does well in almost any climate. A calm and even-tempered rider, the Akhal-Teke horse is always alert but not easy to handle and therefore not suitable for beginner riders. Some owners say that Akhal-Teke horses are the family dogs of the horse world, showing great affection for the owner.
Fun fact: The Akhal-Teke horse is smart and quick to train, very sensitive, gentle and often develops a strong bond with its owner, making it a “one rider” horse.
Another interesting characteristic of the Akhal-Teke horse — this is a lynx. Since this breed originates from the sandy desert, its pace is considered soft as well as springy, with vertical patterns and a flowing manner. The horse has smooth movements and does not swing the body. In addition, her dash is free-gliding, her canter is long and light, and her jumping action can be considered cat-like.
The Akhal-Teke horse is intelligent, quick to learn and gentle, but can also be very sensitive, energetic, bold and stubborn. The long, fast, agile and smooth gait of the Akhal-Teke horse makes it an ideal steed for endurance events and racing. Her athleticism also makes her suitable for dressage and shows.
Social structure and reproduction
Roughly 10,000 years ago, as desertification swept through Central Asia, the stocky horses that lived in the steppe pastures began to transform into the lean and graceful but hardy horses that inhabit Turkmenistan today. As food and water became scarce, the heavy figure of the horse was replaced by a lighter one.
Longer necks, a taller head, larger eyes and longer ears evolved to improve the horse’s ability to see, smell and hear predators across increasingly open plains.
The golden coloration prevalent among Akhal-Teke horses provided the necessary camouflage on the background of a desert landscape. Natural selection has created a breed that will become the pride of Turkmenistan.
Akhal-Teke horses are bred quite densely and therefore lack genetic diversity.
This fact makes the breed susceptible to some genetically determined health problems.
- problems with the development of the cervical spine, also known as wobbler syndrome;
- cryptorchidism – the absence of one or two testicles in the scrotum, which makes it difficult to sterilize and can cause other behavioral and health problems;
- naked foal syndrome, which results in cubs being born hairless, with defective teeth and jaws, and prone to developing various digestive problems, pain, and more.
Natural enemies of Akhal-Teke horses
Akhal-Teke horses have no natural enemies, they are well protected from any ill-wishers. Akhal-Teke tribe — this is pretty much a breed that can be used with success in both breeding and purebred breeding programs, to improve stamina, heartiness, endurance, speed and agility and for the racer or pleasure owner will be a loyal and gentle companion.
The ban on exports from the Soviet Union played a role in the decline of the Akhal-Teke horse population, the lack of finance and management of the breed also had a detrimental effect.
Some argue that their undesirable formation, often depicted in images of a sheep’s neck, sickle process, of excessively long tubular bodies, often in a state of malnutrition, probably also did not render this breed any benefit.
But the Akhal-Teke breed is evolving, and although they are primarily bred for racing in Russia and Turkmenistan, several breeders are now selectively breeding them for the desired conformation, temperament, jumping ability, athleticism and movement that will improve their ability to perform better and compete. with success in equestrian disciplines.
Population and species status
The ancient Turkmen horse was so superior to other modern breeds that the horse was in great demand. The Turkmens did their best to prevent the uncontrolled distribution of their famous horses. Nevertheless, they managed to preserve the excellent qualities and beauty of their national horse.
Until recently, they were unknown outside of their homeland, Turkmenistan. Today, there are only about 6,000 Akhal-Teke horses in the world, mostly in Russia and their native Turkmenistan, where the horse is a national treasure.
Today, the Akhal-Teke horse — it is primarily a combination of different breeds. Their Persian counterparts continued to be bred in a pedigree fashion and can still be identified as separate species, although interbreeding between species invariably occurs.
This horse is gradually gaining recognition in the world, as DNA analysis has shown that its blood flows in all our modern breeds of horses. Its genetic contribution is huge, the history is romantic, and the people who raise them live the same as they did 2000 years ago.
The Akhal-Teke horse is an ancient breed of horses, which is the national symbol of Turkmenistan. The breed’s proud pedigree dates back to the Classical era and Ancient Greece. This breed is the oldest thoroughbred horse in the world and has been around for over three thousand years. Today, these horses are considered excellent for riding. She is often referred to as a one-rider horse because she refuses to be anything other than her true owner.