performance played a critical role in early civilization
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
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.
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.
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.
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.