Breed Standard and Types

The thoroughbred Akhal-Teke horse was created in hot climates of the oases’ and deserts of Central Asia as a specialized saddle horse. For thousands of years this horse was formed under conditions of military campaigns, demanding first of all agility and endurance, and dismissing all frail and weak specimens. Breeding of pure-bred horses based on the ancient traditions of the Turkmen people – together with the economic disadvantages of any cross-breeding, led to the development of a relatively large, extremely dry horse, capable of high performance at a gallop.

The conformation of the pure-bred Akhal-Teke reflected a kind of majestic beauty and sharply distinguished it from other horse breeds. Anyone who has ever seen the Akhal-Teke horse’s pronounced type, will not confuse it with other breeds. The combination of powerful hindquarters and strong joints with exaggerated elegance of the head and neck, dry limbs and fine skin are characteristic of the best modern Akhal-Teke.

The head of the Akhal-Teke horse is dry and light, with an extended and refined the front part, the ears are long or medium length, straight set, sometimes sickle-shaped or lyre-like. Eyes are large, expressive, sometimes with a characteristic almond "oblique" cut. Profile is straight or hook-nosed head with a prominent forehead. Sometimes one sees Akhal-Tekes with a concave profile of the head, but all the same, with an elongated front part. The neck of Akhal-Teke horses is usually long, set high and at an upright angle. The chest is of medium width, the withers are long and well developed, with a sloping and muscular shoulder. The back and loins are often long. The croup is broad, often of medium length, the shape is more common oval or slightly flat. The legs are long, very dry with well-developed joints. Hooves are of regular shape, firm, sometimes one sees a flat hoof and low heels. Akhal-Teke horses have short and silky hair, thin skin, through which a network of blood vessels, muscles and tendons are visible. Many horses have extremely weak development of the mane and forelock - sometimes they have none at all. The main disadvantages that occur in Akhal-Teke horses are: excessively developed Adam's apple, narrow chest, sunken soft back and waist. Appropriate selection, provided good feeding these shortcomings are easily corrected.

In the presence of the general exterior features in the Akhal-Teke breed, there are different types. Along with the large, hook-nosed horses with long lines that feature extremely high set, long necks, there are more compactly built horses having heads with a straight profile and a less highly set neck. Between these two main types there are many intermediate options that can be very different, including the height and the massiveness of the body.
The distribution of types of modern Akhal-Teke horses can be described as follows:

Type One - main
Representatives of this type are characterized by major growth and pronounced peculiar beauty of the Akhal-Teke horse’s long lines. Temperamental, energetic, strong constitution. The head is long and often slightly arched, his eyes large, expressive, long

ears, thin and beautifully set. The neck is long and thin set at a high angle. Withers are high and long. Chest is deep. The body of medium length and well-muscled.
Among the shortcomings encountered are a
soft back, long, flat and shallow trunk, weak development of muscles and low heels.
Among the most striking representatives of this type include horses from the Gelishikli lines (through Yulduz), Peren,
Posman and Everdy
Teleke lines.

Type Two - Middle
This type is characterized by fairly large growth, vigorous temperament
and light, dry limbs. The head is small, light, big expressive eyes, the ears of varying lengths but always subtle and beautifully set. The neck is often long. Withers are well-defined. The body is of medium length and sometimes rather flat. False ribs are often short. The limbs are dry, with clearly visible tendons. The nobility of form is characteristic of this type of strong constitution together with outstandingspeed. This type has a significant variety. These include mainly representatives of the Gelishikli lines (through Gundogar), - (Yelsky State Farm 2nd), Kaplan, Mele Kush, and Fakirpelvan Lines.


Type Three - Massive
Characterized by
massive constitution and a large, bony frame. It's a rough, but strong type of Akhal-Teke horse with high operability. It includes the best representatives of the Arab progeny lines, Dor Bairam, Karlavach, Kir Sakar and Sapur Khan.


Type Four:
Undesirable, but fairly common. He is represented by small, poor-skinned and nervous horses with a small chest girth and flat torso. In horse racing, they can sprint, but the distance is not maintained. This is a very nervous horse, asthenic type formed from a cross between narrow-bodied representatives of related lines of the same type and slight physique as a result of low feeding. Satisfactory offspring are obtained only when crossed with horses of the third, massive type.


Of all the oriental horse breeds the Turkmen Akhal-Teke horse has always had high growth. Brought from Turkmenistan to Russia in the first half of the 19th century Tekin stallions were mostly 158 cm at the withers, but some reached 1.66 m. The average measurements of height at the withers of Akhal-Teke horses, made by GA Masani in 1916, amounted to 155.6 cm in stallions and mares at 152.6 cm. Stallions were significantly larger, because they were always raised, fed and trained by the Turkmen horse-breeders better than the mares. The thing is that the Turkmens, unlike the Arabs, rode solely on stallions and considered it shameful to ride on mares. In 1966, the average growth of the Akhal-Teke stallion was 157.9 cm, oblique body length of 158.3 cm, chest girth 175,7cm, cannon bone girth 19.5 cm, respectively in mares 155.4 -. 157.4 - 175.5 -18 ,9.


The modern Akhal-Teke is roughly the same measurements: stallions 158.9 - 160.1 - 177.2 - 19.25; mare 157.6 - 159.6 - 178.6 - 18.76. In the leading stud farms of Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, the average growth of breeding stallions exceeds 160

cm, and they have a tendency to further increase growth while maintaining the type and other qualities of the Akhal-Teke breed.


The Akhal-Teke breed is famous for the most diverse set of colours, often characterized by a unique gold and silver shimmer. Now the breed has mostly bay horses, about 36%, in second place comes the buckskin/palomino coat - 27%, then Blacks - 14%, Chestnuts - 8%, , grays - 5% and cremello/perlino - 3%. But it was not always so: in the first half of the 20th century, most Akhal-Teke horses were gray, in 1927 they accounted for 36% of the stock, while the bay was 21%. Over time, the number of gray horses declined, but that does not mean that the coat is not typical of the breed.


Like any purebred horse, the Akhal-Teke rider requires understanding and an appropriate attitude. A horse of this breed has a vigorous though serene character; talk about the excessive complexity of the nature of the Akhal-Teke breed is clearly exaggerated.


The Akhal-Teke horse has a different light, effortless movement for the rider. It is characterized by a wide step, easy, free and beautiful flat trot and canter. In Central Asia, in the oases, mountains and deserts, horses often have to overcome various obstacles, so the nature of the Akhal-Teke horse developed the ability to jump.


In literature, there is a lot of information about the outstanding endurance of Akhal-Teke horses. The endurance ability of Turkmen horses was confirmed in the famous run of Ashgabat - Moscow, in the Moscow 500 kilometers racetrack run in 1945, in the race over the ring road around Moscow in 1999. In modern distance runs and there are some more examples of successful performance of Akhal-Teke horses; but there is still unused capacity.


However, first of all the Akhal-Teke horse is different from all other breeds in its exceptional agility and speed, especially in short-track. Conservation and development of quality promoted traditional Teke racing over short distances from 250 meters to a kilometer. Moreover, the winner that day rode again, sometimes 3-4 times. The purebred Akhal-Teke horse in this type of race is not inferior to the Anglo-Teke horses, and sometimes beat the English thoroughbred. Further work with the Akhal-Teke purebred confirms that a well-bred and well-prepared Akhal-Teke horse is capable of showing high agility and speed at any distance.


The Akhal-Teke horse breed is not a specialized sports breed, but some Ahal-Tekes have shown very good results in sport. The most titled Akhal-Teke horse in jumping was the bay Penteli (Fakirpelvan - Peydachi). Under the saddle of Viktor Lisitsyn he won the USSR Cup and was part of the Olympic team of the country. Beautifully performing jumping mare Gerek (Almaz - Gulyalek), stallions Posman (Fakirpelvan - Pasca), Polyot (Gelishikli - Gul),Mogar (Melekush - Ganga), Glazok (Gundogar - Kaska), Arslan (Abdurahman - Selbiniyaz), Man ( Melekush - Akba) and some others. The triathlon showed the best side of the Akhal-Teke Mansour (Dornazarbek - Medea) and Anglo-Teke Propeller (Priz - Angara). But of all classical equestrian sports the highest achievements of the Akhal-Teke horses is in dressage, primarily because of the great Absent born in 1952 (Arab - Baccarat). Under the saddle SI Filatov Absent won the Olympics in Rome and took the third place at the Olympic

Games in Tokyo. Under another rider, Ivan Kalita, at the Olympics in Mexico City Absinthe took fourth place in the standings and third in the team standings. Absent has not only demonstrated outstanding results in equestrian sport, but also become an excellent producer of sport horse breeding. A number of his children successfully performed in Grand Prix dressage. The most famous of them is Abakan, Argument, Akbulak, Alar, Agdam, Ayu-Dag and Elba.

For successful performance of Akhal-Teke horses in the sport, deliberate selection is required, without which it will be impossible to compete with the rapidly developing sport dominated by warmblood breeds. Some experimental use of Akhal-Teke horses in the part-bred horse breeding show the possible role of the Akhal-Teke as improvers of part-bred sporting breeds. Such qualities of the Akhal-Teke breed as speed, elegance, flexibility and agility are undoubtedly needed in the modern riding horse.


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