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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Akhal-Teke the mythic Golden Turk

The Akhal-Teke is the horse of Turkmenistan. It is a horse of great speed and endurance. The breed started as sort of a Landrace. It was a raiding horse until 1881 Russia took over Turkmenistan and the Akhal-Teke was used in the failing war to keep that from happening. The horses were so tough and fast that the Russians called The Divine Horse.

No one knows the exact origin of this horse, like many of the really old breeds. The people of Turkmenistan kept oral records until the 30’s when the Russian’s closed the studbook. This horse is often a golden palomino or a golden buckskin. The breed carries the cream dilution gene. That is exactly what it sounds like, it dilutes the horses coat color.  

We will talk a bit more about this breed when we get to the Thoroughbred as the Byerly, Lister, White and Yellow Turks, all important and foundation sires the Thoroughbred may have been Akhal-Teke. The breed may have introduced Naked Foal Syndrome, a fatal genetic disorder, as well as cervical vertebral malformation, (CVM causes a horse to ‘wobble’) to the Thoroughbred breed.

I have, in the past, mentioned the race from Ashkabad to Moscow in 1935, a distance of over 2000 miles an incredible distance to race over.

There are only around 6000 of these horses world wide and the Turkmenistan government uses them as diplomatic gifts.  

Here is an in hand class of young Akhal-Teke

Edited to add a link to the Akhal-Teke breed registry.

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