HISTORY OF THE AKHAL TEKE BREED
The Akhal Teke is a very ancient breed in the history of the Horse.
When studying history, it is usually written by the more dominant groups of people about themselves. Quite often the facts are not brought forward, only the "facts" according to the winner, or the most prolific group. Smaller groups are therefore not included or discussed.
This horse is from Central Asia. It is bred along Middle "Eastern" Lines. It is not the typical European horse. It is different for reasons of speed, endurance, stamina and low food requirements. It was bred for the Teke Tribe in Turkmenistan as a war-horse.
|There were several tribes in Turkmenistan, at present there are five. The five emblems around the akhal teke are found on the carpets woven by each of the five tribes, The emblem identifies the tribe. The horse at the centre of the Turkmenistan emblem is Yanadag bred by Geldy Kjarizov.|
|The Akhal Teke horse is named after one of these tribes inhabiting the Akhal oasis (west of Ashkhabad).|
breed was kept pure throughout 2500 years. Their aim was to maintain the
quality of the horse for its strength, endurance and speed and not to cross
it with other breeds. This horse proved to be best suited for their raids
and was superior to any other known breed.
When examining the history of animal migration, breeding and use, the history becomes even more inaccurate. Therefore, the history of the Akhal Teke breed requires much investigation in the future to prove its place in the world of horse breeding.
The history of the Akhal Teke horse has been investigated since the beginning of the last century by Russian Horse Historians, Russian breeders, European and American breeders. There are numerous accounts in history books and in travellers' tales, as well as in photographs, paintings, tombs, sculptures and sculptured reliefs. These are also a source of information regarding this breed of horse.
The Chinese Emperor Wu sent 80,000 warriors to obtain these horses. This magnificent guilded bronze horse would have been a treasured object in the imperial palace during the reign of emperor woo.
It was found along side artifacts with inscriptions indicting its use by the imperial family, in particular princess Yang Xian, the elder sister of emperor Wu. This is the gilded horse of this size found in China. The horse stands at attention - all four legs firmly grounded. Eyes focused, ears erect and mouth slightly opened. It's anatomic detail is realistic and sensitive - a suggestion of shoulder and leg muscles, fine lines depicting the strands of the mane and tail, the forlock rising in a connical form, quite unlike the tousled manes of the Qin horses. The tail and genitals were cast separately and then soldered onto the body prior to gilding. The horse's obvious strength and its long, slender legs suggests the ability to move with speed and endurance - just the kind of horse treasured by the Han. This horse might well represent one of the 'heavenly horses of Ferghana' that were first brought to China from the west under emperor Wu's orders. Even today, horses from this region (Modern Turkmenistan) often demonstrate a golden, almost iridescent coat. (Imperial China, The Art of the Horse in Chinese History, Lexington, 2000 p.136
Early horses were known to come from North America across the Bering Straight into Asia. The area around the Caspian Sea was fertile with grassy plains and was an ideal place for the horse breed to develop. This area is now degraded due to overgrazing by goats, together with mankind's use. It can be likened to North Africa, a once fruitful area supporting a lot of agriculture, in contrast to the now "semi-desert" regions.