May 20th, 2013 by Jake Richardson
In case you haven’t see the photos that are going around the Web, there is one below. The horse reportedly is owned by the president of Turkmenistan Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.
The breed is Akhal Teke and there may be only about 3,500 of them in the world. Some are cream-colored like this one, and others have different colors such as chestnut, palomino, perlino, gray and black. The metallic sheen to their coats is a signature trait.
Their breed may date back to about 3,000 years ago and they are known for endurance. In one case, this kind of horse reportedly was ridden 2,500 miles by a group of Turk men in 1935. They accomplished this feat in about 83 days.
They may have first used by tribesman from Turkmenistan for conducting raids and were known for hardiness in difficult terrain and climates. The name Akhal Teke came from a Russian general who admired these horses and named them for Turk tribesman who lived near Akhal oasis.
These horses are naturally athletic and have been used by people to good effect for dressage, racing, jumping and eventing. Today, Turkmenistan also uses them as diplomatic gifts.
Because the population is small, there are some genetic issues. There is also some question about their relationship with thoroughbred racehorses. They may have preceded Arabians, or in some cases, mixed with them.
At any rate, some might object to saying a horse breed that has been manipulated so much is beautiful, because it isn’t the most natural. The most natural would probably be those living in the wild, but in North America even wild mustangs are said to be ‘feral’ by some people. The number of truly wild horses left in the world, is probably very tiny, especially relative to the number of domesticated breeds.
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