The Akhal-Teke horse is a breed of horse related to the extinct Turkmen horse, which is currently raised in Russia and Turkmenistan.



The denomination Akhal-Teke derives from a geographical area, Akhal, and from a Turkmen ethnic group, the Teke. Akhal Tekke was the name that bore between 1882 and 1890 a district (uedz) of the Russian province of Transcaspia. The name Akhal is given to the oasis on the northern slope of the Kopet Dagh and the Küren Dagh. Tekke is a tribal name of the Turkmen.

In the hills of Kopet-Dag, near Ashgabat, are the archaeological remains of civilization from the city of Nisa, Nessa or Nusaý.


The Akhal-Teke is a slender horse of approximately 1.60 m tall in males and 1.55 m in mares. The general appearance shows an animal with elongated lines with a long and thin neck, sometimes S-shaped, associated with a haughty appearance of the head.

The head is light and stark. The eyes are large and expressive. The ears, long and thin, are located very high. The back is long. The limbs are long and thin with well-marked tendons. The shoulder blade is long and at a correct angle. The chest is deep and oval. The muscles are denser than voluminous. The skin is very thin and the coat is silky. The tail and mane are rather scarce and the bangs are almost absent.


Ancient Turkmen horse Akhal-Teke, bronze, fourth-first centuries BC. [1]Akhal-Teke horse with cream fur. Akhal-Teke horse.

The origins of Akhal-Teke horses seem to be related to the horses that existed in the region 3,000 years ago known by various names. The most famous denomination is Niseus horses. Either way remote origins are difficult to pinpoint for lack of conclusive evidence. Until the seventeenth century the concept of race in the modern sense did not exist. Races were identified with geographical areas and types defined by conformation, performance and usefulness.

Considering the geographical area, the Akhal region is located in the south of presentday Turkmenistan. The territory of Turkmenistan has been populated since ancient times. Turkmen tribes engaged in horse-breeding arrived in the territory in ancient times, possibly from the Altai Mountains, and settled on the outskirts of the Kara Kum desert, reaching PersiaSyria and Anatolia.

The Russian army made its entrance into the territory between the 1860s and 1870s. In 1869 the port of Krasnovodsk was created, and already in 1874 the Russian presence was consolidated with the creation of the military district of Transcaspia. Annexed by the Russian Empire between 1865 and 1885, in 1890 Russian control over Turkmenistan was complete. The horses of the Teke tribe were very similar to the Turkmen horses raised in neighboring Persia (Iran).

The Teke used to make expeditions to the south, to steal and capture slaves. Each warrior carried two horses: a purebred saddle horse and a pack horse. The genealogy of the best horses was preserved by oral tradition. And these horses were not sold in any way or at any price.

Once Turkmenistan was conquered by the Russians, General Kuropatkin gathered a few Tekke horses and began to breed in a stud.

Main skills and uses

The Akhal-Teke breed is suitable for almost all equestrian disciplines, especially endurance races and the complete riding contest. He has also demonstrated a good aptitude in High School. Horse Abzent and his rider Serge Filatov won the gold medal in High School at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, the bronze medal in 1964 and the gold medal in 1968. The Akhal-Teke is a racing horse, with good movements, good jumper and exceptional endurance. In 1935 a group of Akhal-Teke horses made the trip from Ashgabat to Moscow (4,150 km) and crossing the Kara Kum desert) in 84 days. As an breed breed, it has been successfully used in many cases. One of the founding foals of the English fine racing blood horse is attributable to the Akhal-Teke breed, the colt known as Byerley Turk was reported as a dark brown horse with characteristics of the Akhal-Teke, of great size, large eyes, long neck and tail height.


Main article: Horse furs

Horses of the breed can be presented with very different coats. Of the four basic coats (black, brown, chestnut, sor) brown is not specifically mentioned but it is very likely that it is included between black and dark brown coats. There are also diluted dun and cream coats. And liarts coats.

Horses with simple or heterozygous cream diluted coats (especially bayo-cream and pigeons) often show a metallic hue that makes body hairs look golden. In white horses ( gray liarts, creams, pearls, …) with this characteristic the hairs look silvery.

No other dilutions or patterns are documented other than those indicated. In Turaniana horses the furs described are more numerous. There is also an explanation of the causes of metallic tonality. There are indirect references to Turkmen horses with leopard coats or pigates in other times. At present, pigated mantles are not listed in the Akhal-Teke breed.


  • Charles Marvin. The Russians at Merv and Herat – And Their Power of Invading India. READ BOOKS, 27 November 2009, 15–. ISBN 9781444665079 [Consultation: 11 December 2010].
  • Characteristics according to The Akhal Teke Association of America.
  • “History of the Akhal-Teke.” International Association of Akhal-Teke Breeding (MAAK)
  • “The Turkmenian,” Akhal-Teke: A Differentiated View.
  • The Edinburgh new philosophical journal. A. and C. Black, 1844, 199– [Consultation: 11 December 2010].
  • Charles Marvin. Merv, the Queen of the World; And the Scourge of the Man-Stealing Turcomans – With an Exposition of the Khorassan Question. READ BOOKS, 2010, 162–. ISBN 9781445576107 [Consultation: 11 December 2010].
  • F. Lynghaug. Horses of Distinction: Stars of the Pleasure Breeds with Exceptional Shine. Horses of Distinction, January 1, 2006, 3–. ISBN 9780977894703 [Consultation: 13 December 2010].
  • “The Turanian horses colors”.

External links


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