Ahal-teke horses - Proud of Turkmen nation

Description:

The akhalteke is an ancient breed descended from one of the four horse types that crossed the Bering Strait from the Americas in prehistoric times.

Approximately 10,000 years ago, as desertification took hold of Central Asia, the stocky horses indigenous to its steppe grasslands began to evolve into the lean and graceful but hardy horses that inhabit Turkmenistan today. As food and water became more scarce the heavy frame of the horse gave way to a lighter one. Longer necks, a higher head carriage, larger eyes and longer ears evolved to better the horse’s ability to see, smell, and hear predators over the increasingly open plains. The golden coloring predominant among the akhalteke provided the necessary camouflage against the desert landscape. Through natural selection a breed was created which would become the pride of Turkmenistan.

In appearance the akhalteke horse is similar to its descendent, the Persian Arab, though in size it is more comparable to another of its descendants, the English thoroughbred. The akhalteke has a small thin head, long ears and large eyes. It has a short silky mane or no mane at all, and a short tail. The Turkmen practice of covering their horses with two to three layers of felt blankets to protect against cold in the winter and flies in the summer encouraged a remarkably fine textured coat. Akhaltekes are known for their golden coloring but they can also be white, black, dappled, dun, bay, gray or chestnut colored. The great speed, elasticity and grace of the akhalteke make it at once a coveted racer, show jumper and dressage mount. Though spirited in temperament, akhalteke horses are by all accounts gentle and loyal to their owners, yet aloof with strangers.

Turkmen tribesmen valued their horses above all else. As a nomadic group situated in a crossroads of cultures they were often required to face enemy conflict and came to rely heavily on the strength, speed and endurance of their horses. The akhalteke’s ability to over great distances of harsh terrain under extreme climatic conditions, and to travel at night, made them indispensable to the Turkmen warriors. Aside from their valiant exertions as warriors’ mounts, akhalteke horses were also invaluable in assisting Turkmen nomads with their daily work.

Horses, unlike any other animal in the world, were given proper names, not nicknames, by the Turkmen people. Newborn foals are called sons and daughters, and later on grandsons and granddaughters, assimilating them to the people. In this way, Turkmen people linked their fate inseparably with the horse’s fate. Pride of Turkmens - Akhalteke horse is a part of the sovereign Turkmenistan's national emblem. Every year the last Sunday of April, Turkmen people celebrate the Akhalteke Horses Holiday.


Gallery:
Ахалтекинские скакуны - Гордость туркмен





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