Breeds of Livestock, Department of Animal Science
Breeds of Livestock - Akhal Teke Horse
The Akhal-Teke is a horse from Turkmen, in the southern region of the modern country of Turkmenistan. These horses have been renowned as cavalry mounts and racehorses for some 3,000 years. The Akhal-Teke has superb natural gaits, and is the outstanding sporting horse from this area. The Akhal-Teke is native to an arid, barren environment. During its history, it has established a reputation of great stamina and courage. A key to the Akhal-Teke’s stamina is its diet which is low in bulk but high in protein, and frequently includes butter and eggs mixed with barley. Today the Akhal-Teke is used in show jumping and dressage in addition to daily use under saddle.
The Akhal-Teke's conformation can be favorably compared to the Persian Arab, another breed of ancient origin. Its head is similar to the Arab's, being long and light with expressive eyes. It has relatively long ears and a long neck. It has a short silky mane, or none at all, and a short tail. This breed has a narrow chest, long back, and flat ribs. The legs are long and slender, clearly revealing the tendons. It averages 15-15.1 hands in height. It is often dun in color, although it can be bay and gray, with a preferred pale golden coat. The Akhal-Teke is among the most elegant of the world's horses.
The Akhal-Teke descended from the ancient Turkmenian horse which was one of the four original horse "types" that cross the Bering Strait from America in prehistoric times. It was originally bred by tribes of Turkoman. The Akhal-Teke now is bred in the other provinces of the southern U.S.S.R.
Records Set by Akhal-Teke Horses
In 1935, fifteen Akhal-Teke horses were required to travel from Ashkhabad to Moscow on a forced march of approximatel
y 2,600 miles and 3 days without water, including travel across the Kara-Kum desert of approximately 255 miles. The entire trip lasted approximately 84 days.
The Akhal-Teke named "Absent" won the Prix de Dressage at the Rome Olympics in 1960.
Kentucky Horse Park, 4089 Iron Works Pike, Lexington, KY 40511Photographs:
Hendricks, Bonnie L., International Encyclopedia of Horse Breeds, Univ of Oklahoma Press, 1995
Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy PO Box 477; Pittsboro, NC 27312