Turkmens have always been horsemen. The horse was a friend, family member. From their ancestors, the Parthians, the Turkmens have inherited not only the love for horses, but also the famous Akhal-Teke breed, worldwide known for its grace, speed and endurance. Akhal-Teke is the national symbol of Turkmenistan. The central part of the state emblem is decorated with a silhouette of the legendary horse breed. The horse, as you know, always leaping forward.
The name Akhal Teke derived from the name of oasis Akhal and tribe Teke who lived in Alkhal oasis. The Akhal-Teke's most notable and defining characteristic is the natural metallic bloom of its coat. This is especially seen in the palominos and buckskins, as well as the lighter bays, although some horses "shimmer" more than others. The color pattern is thought to have been used as camouflage in the desert.
The Akhal-Teke has a fine head with a straight or slightly convex profile, and long ears. It also has almond-shaped eyes. The mane and tail are usually sparse. The long back is lightly muscled, and is coupled to a flat croup and long, upright neck. The Akhal-Teke possess sloping shoulders and thin skin. These horses have strong, tough, but fine limbs. They have a rather slim body and ribcage (like an equine version of the greyhound, with a deep chest. The conformation is typical of horses bred for endurance over distance. The Akhal-Tekes are lively and alert, with a reputation for bonding to only one person.
Because of the genetic prepotency of the ancient breed, the Akhal-Teke has been used for developing new breeds, most recently the Nez Perce Horse (Appaloosa x Akhal-Teke). The Akhal-Teke, due to its natural athleticism, makes a great sport horse, good at dressage, show jumping, eventing, racing, and endurance riding.
The International Association of Akhal-Teke horse has recently been established with headquarters in Ashgabat
Newspaper “Neutral Turkmenistan” cites the fact that in the course of excavations conducted by the Turkmen-Russian expedition led by Professor Victor Sarianidi there were received sensational evidence that the population of Turkmenistan domesticated the horse earlier than others. In the royal tombs of Gonur, archaeologists found the remains of carriages with bronze rims, a stone statue of a horse with a clearly defined saddle, small signal tubes for the restructuring and the movement of riders, but most importantly - the oldest in Central Asia and the Middle East, sacrificial burial foal. This is an indisputable fact that local elite was familiar with the house trained horse already at the end of III - the beginning of II century BC.
During your trip to Turkmenistan there is an opportunity to visit hippodrome for horse riding where Akhal-Tekes will also participate. If you are interested in horse riding in Turkmenistan then it is possible to visit on Sundays in Ashgabat the capital city of Turkmenistan.