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Horse Breeds
First Posted: July 17, 2009
Oct 4, 2010



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Country of Origin: Turkmenistan, Northern Iran


The Akhal-Teke is a horse from Turkmenistan, in northern Iran adjacent to the former Soviet Union. 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.

Physical Description

The Akhal-Teke's confirmation 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 pale golden coat preferred. The Akhal-Teke is among the most elegant of the world's horses.


It is assumed the Akhal-Teke horse descended from ancient Tarpans and Przewalski horses of southern Asia. It was originally bred by tribes of Turkoman. The Akhal-Teke now is bred in the other former provinces of the southern Soviet Union.

Interesting Facts

A group of Akhal-Tekes' were known to have traveled 2,580 miles from Ashkhabad to Moscow in only 84 days with minimal rations of feed and water. The Akhal-Teke named "Absent" won the Prix de Dressage at the Rome Olympics in 1960.


1. Tarpan
2. Przewalski's Horse

Famous Akhal-Tekes:

Absent-Winner of the Prix de Dressage at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. In 1968 Absent was named the "World's Best Sporting Horse."
Dancing Brave-Winner of the 1986 Arc de Triomphe Race. Dancing Brave holds the record for the highest price ever paid for a horse; US$50 million.
Melekush-In 1956 Nikita Krushchev presented Melekush to Queen Elizabeth II of England. He was described by the Royal Equerry as Britain's "best horse."
Buccephalus-The famed favorite horse of Alexander the Great.

For more information:

The Golden Horses of Turkmenistan
Akhal-Teke Rare Breeds Conservancy
The Turanian Horse


Permission given by my dear friend, Cowboy Frank to use his breeds section.
Oklahoma State University list of livestock breeds

Horse Breeds