The Akhal-Teke is bred from a system of about 18 sire lines, a few of which are rare and little known.
The Akhal-Teke has a distinct conformation that puts it apart from other breeds. It is a long-legged, long-backed horse between 1.54m and 1.64m in height; its head is finely molded with intelligent almond-shaped eyes, set on a neck that is long and carried high. Dry legs and hard hooves, exceptional stamina. A special feature is the golden, metallic sheen to their coat, no matter what the basic colour. The breed allows for a wide palette of colours and has a widespread occurrence of the dilute factor, giving buckskin, palomino, smokey black, cremello and perlino as well as the basic black, bay and chestnut. Their gaits are light-footed and flat, carried forward by strong hindquarters, which makes them not only comfortable to ride but eminently suited for a variety of sports: endurance and eventing in particular but also for dressage and jumping. These days one finds an increasing numer of akhal teke horses listed in sports events, particularly in endurance where their taller frame and long gaits appeal to riders over the more traditional endurance breeds.
In the Akhal-Teke stallion Absent won the Gold Medal for dressage at the Olympic Games in Rome. Silver in Tokyo, Bronze in Montreal. No other horse has ever received medals in three consecutive Olympics.
About the History:
Out of the mists of prehistoric times a breed of horses appeared in Central Asia that has maintained its conformation and purity up to this present day. The ancient Chinese discribed them as Heavenly Horese long before the rise of Western civilization; the Greek historian knew them to be unwavering in battle and loyal to their masters.
These horses eventually became known as Akhal Teke, Teke bing the priciple tribe that bred them and Akhal the oasis in the Kopt-Dag mountains of Turkmenistan, where thy were based. The Akhal-Teke’s original homeland lay in the barren area of steppes and desert, what is today Turkmenistan and northern Iran. The isolation of these lands from the outside world guaranteed the purity of a breed. The subjugation of the independent Turkmen princedoms by the Russian Empire in the 1880’s and, half a century later by the establishment of the Soviet authority, gravely threatened the existence of the Akhal-Teke. Individual horse lovers during both regimes introduced the discipline, administration and science needed to establish a creditable and reliable studbook along modern lines.
Since 1912 a well-documented studbook gives insight into the bloodlines of the Akhal Teke founding sires and lays down the standards for conformation and performance. The highlight was the legendary ride from the Turkmen from Aschgabad to Moscow in 1935. Over 4300 km in 43 days through deserts and lonely areas. Since the 17th century the Akhal-Teke horses have found their way to Europe.