Which horse is "Thoroughly Bred?" An Opinion.
In response to your query;
Regarding Akhal Tekes, being the ancestors of the "Thoroughbred" in my humble opinion, this is true, based on the following facts:
1. Almost all horses from the Middle East were called "Arabian". Why? Because the Middle East was called "Arabia." Any horse coming from there was, ergo, "an Arabian". Some came with the designation "Turk" meaning the horse had come from Turkey or Turkmenistan.
2. Dr. Gus Cothran, who works in the University in Virginia, has identified the genetic links between Akhal Tekes and Thoroughbreds. The race horse was not "thoroughly bred" in King Charles I and Charles II's time. They were little horses of all sorts of pedigrees for flat racing.
3. The Akhal Teke stallions were brought to England by returning army officers, after wars in" Arabia," These men were cavalry officers and able to recognise a good, tall, fast horse that would improve the little English horses.
They were used to enhance:
a) The height of the short English horses, not a trait the average modern Arabian could pass on -they are rarely big horses, being between 14 to 15.2 hands. So how could an Arabian horse of the 16th century, which would be smaller than its modern counterpart, make a small English flat racer larger and faster?Maybe they crossed them with a draught horse?I don't think so!
Therefore, they used the relatively taller Akhal Teke horse from The Middle East. The Sultans had the elite cavalry corps in Istanbul mounted on these spectacular horses that guarded his palaces, which they had brought from their close neighbours in Turkmenistan for hundreds of years. The Turkmen formed the elite cavalry.
Quotation from the "Journal of The Royal Asiatic Society Vol XXI.
"The forerunners of the thoroughbred racehorse, the mounts from Anatolia, were a finer and swifter breed"É "My father was a great rider and judge of horseflesh but had never seen anything like it. Every horse...looks fit to win the Derby" "The Turkmen [known as Karakus or Dark Birds] were birds of ill omen all over Central Asia. Their outstanding quality as cavalry depended on their sturdy horses which could cover some 100 kilometres a day and are said to have achieved twice the distance when pressed, their riders were equally tough and could ride twenty hours a day for an entire week. As was to be the custom in the camp of the Ottoman army, they picketed their horses outside their tents and never stabled them. Although the rider carried a whip, it was for show or use on dogs, not his horse; and no man needed a spur."
b) To improve the speed and staying power of the English flat racers, they captured these Turkmen horses in battles and brought them back to England.
c) They brought their grooms with the horses to England-Turkish grooms. Much of the terminology concerning horse care is Turkish or Turkmene. The grooms' clothing seen in paintings (eg painting below) holding the horses is Turkic rather than "Arabian."
"A GREY ARABIAN"
Painting by James Wootton
Is the man in the picture holding a
14 hand Arabian horse?
4. Finally, as you have so rightly observed, 100 years ago, the race horses looked like Akhal Tekes.
a) These horses in the paintings are taller than a modern Arabian, let alone a 16th/17th Century Arabian horse which would be undernourished by present day standards.
Look how big they are beside their Turkish grooms. Logically both man and horse would have grown larger since the 16th Century on good food. Unless of course the grooms were tiny or the horses have shrunk to their present Arabian size today!
b) Long neck.
c) Longer legs.
d) High Akhal Teke head carriage.
e) Why does "history" quote the Arabians to be the breeding stallions to improve the little English flat racers, when the larger Akhal Tekes can run faster than Arabians? Not logical.
Hippologists are now investigating this so-called historical fact.
f) The Akhal Tekes are still faster than the Arabians on the racetrack today. The Thoroughbred is the fastest, bred as a running machine.
5. Lady Anne Blunt took many horses to Crabbit Park. Perhaps there was the occasional Akhal Teke offloaded in Angleterre?!
I have a line of Crabbit Arabians that are pure bred on their pedigree from England, they are large for an Arabian. Is there a "dark horse" way, way back in the mists of time that was either a thoroughbred, or did Lady B bring back the odd Akhal Teke? Some Akhal Teke lines have dished faces.
The ancestors of the modern Arabian need to examined. A difficult job because of hopeless record keeping. DNA records will possibly produce some surprises, no doubt.
6. The Parthians had control of the Middle East because of superior horses, which they knew to breed carefully to keep them fleet of foot. Their horses had to be superior in order to defeat their neighbours, including the all powerful Romans.
Alexander the Great went shopping for horses at the Parthian Kingdom at Nisea and set off to conquer India.
Then the Turkmenes on their Akhal Teke horses conquered India and became the Moguls.
The Akhal Teke tribe, and the other tribes in Turkmenistan, have been breeding the best to the best, for the last 1000 years, with oral records.
So the Akhal Teke horse has, for far longer, been more "thoroughly bred" than the "English Thoroughbred"!
Learn more about Akhal Teke History