About Akhal-Teke HorsesAbout Akhal-Teke Horses

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Akhal-Teke horses originated from Turkmenistan and are best known for their intelligence, speed and endurance.

The Akhal-Teke typically stands between 14.2 and 16 hands (58 and 64 inches, 147 and 163 cm) and there are currently about 6,600 Akhal-Tekes in the world, found primarily in Turkmenistan and Russia, with some also located in Europe and North America.

The Akhal-Teke bloodline dates back thousands of years in Turkmenistan when selectively bred Akhal-Teke were used for raids and fights for the Russian Empire.

The Akhal-Teke breed has influenced many other breeds, including several Russian breeds. There has been extensive crossbreeding with the Thoroughbred to create a fast, long-distance racehorse and as a result all Akhal-Tekes are thought to have Thoroughbred ancestors. The Russians printed the first stud book that included the Akhal-Teke in 1941 along with 700 other horse breeds.

Few breeds of horses have as wide a diversity of color as the Akhal-Teke. They can be grey, black, dapple, white, crème, chestnut, bay, buckskin, or palomino color sometimes with a blue or purple sheen. They often have 
a distinctive metallic sheen. This color is so special that it has its own name, voronaya, in Russian and is the result of the “cream gene” a dilution gene that produces a perlino and cremello color.

Many Akhal-Teke’s have a special glow to their coat. This is caused by the structure of the hair; the opaque core is reduced in size and in some areas may be absent altogether. The transparent part of the hair (the medulla) takes up this space, and acts like a light-pipe, bending light through one side of the hair and refracting it out the other side, often with a golden cast or metallic sheen.

Akhal-Teke’s also commonly have blue eyes. Some even have a “marbled” eye color which can be partially blue. The effect is quite stunning.

The breed suffered greatly when the Soviet Union required horses to be slaughtered for meat, even though local Turkmen refused to eat them. At one point only 1,250 horses remained and export from the Soviet Union was banned. The government of Turkmenistan now uses the horses as diplomatic presents as well as auctioning a few to raise money for improved horse breeding programs.