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Magic Valley Akhal-Tekes

The Warrior's Mount
Akhal-Teke performance played a critical role in early civilization

One of the most ancient and unique breeds of the world, the Akhal-Teke was developed 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 Turkmene or Turkoman.  Directly descended from the wild steppe horses, the Turkoman is the legendary horses from Fergana and Bactria where it was called the Bactrian or Turanian horse, and was ridden by great leaders including Darius and Alexander. The cavalry of Darius was mounted on this "horse of quality" and was very successful because of it.  In Chinese legends, the breed was known as "the heavenly horse," and in 126 B.C., the Chinese attacked Bactria solely for the purpose of obtaining some of these horses.

Located in Southern Turkmenistan, far from trade routes and 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 their horses, resulted in a breed of ancient lineage and great purity.

As 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 management.  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 care resulted in a horse that can subsist on small amounts of food and water, becomes devoted to its master, and is suspicious of strangers.

The prevailing color of Akhal Teke is gold -- either as a golden dun, golden bay or golden chestnut -- though other colors do occur.  This special golden color with a metallic sheen is one of the genetically distinct characteristics of the breed.

 

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