The Akhal-Teke horse, also known as the Turkmenistian horse, or rare golden horse from Turkmenistan which is one of the Turkik states in Central Asia. Until 1991, Turkmenistan was a constituant republic of the Soviet Union, which is also referred to as Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic (Turkmen SSR). The Akhal-Teke horse is a highly regarded national emblem and dates back over 3000 years in lineage as a pure breed. It is debatable as to where exactly the breed originated and there are many names that the breed is known by including the Nisean breed which originated in Iran and is now considered extinct.
The breed today is still very rare today. There are approximately 3500 pedigreed horses left in the world today and are being bred throughout Russia, Europe, the U.S and other countries to maintain purity of bloodlines and quality of breed.
One of the most unique attributes of the Akhal-Teke breed is the rare and naturally occurring metallic sheen of their coat.
Characteristically, the breed is seen in many colors such as bay, chestnut, seal brown, palomino, buckskin, dark buckskin, white, black and creme. The creme varieties of the breed are born with pink skin and blue eyes and their coat usually shows the metallic luster most. The breed colors are defined by specific genotypes that determine coloration and purity of bloodlines.
The horses body is described as an equine version of the greyhound. It has a long sleek body, deep chest and a larger head that is long with a straight or slightly convex profile. Its ears are long and they are known for their almond shaped eyes. It's average height ranges between 14 and 16 hands and has a sparse main and tale unlike that of other horse breeds. They are known to have sloping shoulders and thin skin with strong lean limbs. Their bodies are perfect for long distances, endurance and quickness.The horses were bred to endure environments lacking food and water and they have been known to cover great distances on very little resources without fatality.
The breed was kept hidden by their keepers until first reports of the breed were said to have been seen in the Turkmenistan desert Kara Kum which is a rocky, flat desert that is surrounded by mountains. The horses were first used on raids in the desert and were cherished among the nomads. Eventually in 1881 when Turkmenistan became part of the Russian empire, the breed became prized by the empire and were bred on a newly developed farm that was founded after the war concluded. The horses were then renamed, Akhal-Tekes which is the name they are known by today.
When Alexander the Great was campaigning in Central Asia, he became enamored with the golden horse and incorporated them into his possession. Many great leaders in history and war remarked on the beauty, strength and endurance of the breed. The horses can also be seen in many classic paintings, statues and even monuments dedicated to the breed and its role in history.
Featured above is the Akhal-Teke Horse Monument which is at the center of the Turkmenistan national emblem.