Akhal-Teke is among the rarest and most prized horse breeds in the world, coming from Turkmenistan, with a history of thousands of years behind it. If you’re a horse lover, the Akhal-Teke will be your most prized possession.
Today, we will discuss the Akhal-Teke’s origins and overall characteristics, helping you understand where this breed comes from, why it’s so popular, and how to care for it.
History and Origin
The breed comes from the arid plains of the Karakum desert in Turkmenistan. The harsh conditions there, including lack of water and proper food, have made the horse one of the most adaptable creatures in the region. Early Turkmen loved the horse for its intelligence, athleticism, and adaptability and bred it to help with their daily lives.
Once Turkmenistan became a Soviet Union territory, the first Akhal-Teke farms became available, providing horse breeders access to Turkmenistan’s jewel. The horse famously got its name from the Teke tribe, a Turkmen population living in the Akhal oasis.
It was 1979 when the first Akhal-Teke stepped onto American territory, taking the breed to worldwide popularity.
Each horse breed comes with its own specifics, and Akhal-Teke is no different. The horse has unique features, making it both beloved and hated among horse connoisseurs. These include:
– Size and Height
Akhal-Teke is the greyhound of horses, with a slim waist and a thin and athletic body. It lacks the musculature of other, more powerful horse breeds but makes up by sheer graciousness.
The horse’s size varies between 56 to 65 inches which rank as a medium. Its size, combined with its athletic physical makeover, make for the ideal build for speed.
The Akhal-Teke can reach around 900 to 1100 lbs. This weight is generally influenced by the horse’s genetic makeup, environmental conditions, and food, but don’t expect it to go too crazy. This horse is built for speed and, as a consequence, it won’t pack a lot of muscle or weight.
This means you should also pay attention to overfeeding. Horses who don’t have enough physical activity and eat too much tend to gain more weight than necessary. In turn, this can affect their overall well-being.
The Akhal-Teke comes in a variety of colors, all related. You can find horses in bay, black, chestnut, palomino, or grey, among other shades. The unique aspect about this horse is that the colors gain a unique reflex due to the horse’s coat.
The Akhal-Teke horse has a thin and silky coat which will give the color a metallic-like shine. A clean horse will appear to sparkle in the sunlight, which is why one of the horse’s pseudonyms is ‘The Golden Horse.’
While the Akhal-Teke doesn’t show ground-breaking speeds, it makes up for it by showing incredible stamina and resilience. This comes from its breed’s upbringing, as the horses once roamed Turkmenistan’s deserts and had to endure a shortage of food and water.
The horse will reach speeds of around 30 mph for longer distances than most breeds. Its incredible stamina makes it highly appreciate among horse lovers.
Akhal-Teke is renowned for its warm and friendly temperament. It is one of the friendliest horses with a ‘teach me stuff attitude’ that horse trainers much appreciate. Experts consider the Akhal-Teke one of the easiest to train due to its docile behavior and willingness to please.
This makes the horse ideal for both professional competitors and casual horse lovers looking for a trustworthy addition to their families.
The Akhal-Teke isn’t special in this area as it will probably live around 20-30 years, just like most horses. Its lifespan is usually influenced by factors like genetic disorders, quality of food, quality of life, and others.
Diet and Nutrition
This horse breed needs a balanced diet rich in protein. Akhal-Teke’s ancestors didn’t have access to too much grass in the old days and had to survive on what they could find. In today’s rich and stable environment, the Akhal-Teke doesn’t need to worry about food anymore.
The horse will need to eat a variety of grass, hay, and the occasional grain to get the vital nutrients it needs. Pay close attention not to overfeed the horse. This can impair its ability to run at its maximum potential and cause additional health issues along the way.
The standard equine grooming kit should suffice here. You need utensils to clean the horse’s hoofs, mane, and tail and bathe it occasionally to bring out its coat’s metallic sparkle.
Other than that, the Akhal-Teke is easy to maintain and clean, given its short coat.
Once upon a time, the Akhal-Teke was a valuable possession for early Turkmens who would rely on the horse during their raids and combat endeavors. Today, the horse’s utility has shifted towards more peaceful activities. These include pleasure riding, showjumping, long-distance racing, etc.
The horse’s speed and stamina make it a fierce contender on the track.
The good news is that you can acquire an average Akhal-Teke at around $10,000. The bad news is that you might pay double or triple that for a peak specimen with a pristine pedigree or competitive accomplishments. Even the horse’s physical characteristics may influence its price heavily.
The metallic-looking coat can easily add several thousand dollars to the price tag.
The underlying problem with the Akhal-Teke is that its breed is endemic to a relatively small area in Turkmenistan. It remained there for hundreds of years before migrating to other places of the Globe. This means that the horse has a low genetic diversity, making it prone to genetic disorders.
These may include conditions like the wobbler syndrome, cryptorchidism, or naked foal syndrome. I advise checking the horse thoroughly before buying it to make sure everything is in good order. And hope that it won’t develop any such condition over time.
Although, it will eventually develop health issues as it gets old, which is typical for all horses, not just Akhal-Teke.
Unfortunately, there are around 6,000 Akhal-Teke’s around the world, with many of them still in Russia. You can find these horses in other places too, including North America.
You will probably have some running to do if you aim to get one and be ready to show up with your pockets full.
The Akhal-Teke is one of the fastest and most resilient horses on the planet with a reputation of a sweetheart. It’s a gentle animal willing to learn, easy to train, and a human lover.
If Akhal-Teke is your type of beast, comment below with any questions, and I’ll try to answer them as soon as possible.Horse Breeds