Known to have a history dating back to the 6th Century B.C., the Akhal Tekes are one of the purest breeds around.
Horses are one of the most magnificent creatures known to humankind. Not only are they fast and agile they are also known to possess incredibly powerful kicks that can generate 2,000 PSI of power on average. When you're looking at some of the most ruggedly handsome horses out there, the Akhal Tekes certainly stand out among the rest - for their understated beauty.
In fact, they look so attractive that they can be called the supermodels of the Equestrian world, despite needing very little grooming. Don't believe us? Take one look at them, we're sure you will change your mind. Originating from the Karakum desert in Turkmenistan, the Akhal Tekes are known as one of the oldest and purest of breeds with a history dating as far back as the 6th Century B.C.
"While documentation of the Akhal-Teke goes back about 3,000 years, equine remains found preserved in permafrost in a southern Siberian burial site, which dates from the 6th Century B.C., are very similar to today's Akhal-Teke", says Federation Equestre Internationale.
The key reason behind the breed's continued existence for thousands of years is vastly due to Turkmenistan's isolation from various parts of Europe and Asia. Currently, the Teke is the national emblem of Turkmenistan and features on the country's stamps, coat of arms, and currency.
Besides being wonderfully pleasing on the eye, the breed is known to possess amazing stamina compared to its counterparts. According to Equine World, this was established when a group of riders embarked on a 2,600-mile endurance race from Ashgabat to Moscow in 1935.
The 84-day-long ride involved an Anglo-Teke, Akhal Teke, and Yomud horses and an especially gruelling 3-day, 215-mile journey across the Karakum desert with no access to water whatsoever. When they reached the final destination, however, the riders remarked that the Akhal Teke was in far better shape compared to its halfbreed competitors.
Explaining the purpose behind Akhal Tekes, TheSprucePets said: "The nomadic tribesmen of Turkmenistan primarily used Akhal-Tekes for transportation. They selectively bred their horses for enhanced speed, stamina, and agility, which were prized qualities for raids.
Nowadays, Akhal-Tekes are used for dressage, showjumping, long-distance racing, and pleasure riding. In Russia, an Akhal-Teke is even a status symbol. The breed's positive characteristics also echo throughout the horse racing world."
In terms of appearance, the Teke horses have a slender build with their coats exuding a metallic sheen, owing to the distinctive nature of their hair. This very feature allows them to stand apart from other breeds.
They are most commonly seen in black, chestnut, bay, grey, bay, palomino, or cremello colors and are accentuated with black points with white markings on the face and legs.
The Tekes are also prized for their smooth, flowing gait in addition to their temperament and loyalty. In fact, many owners are said to characterize them as devoted one-person horses.
The population of the Akhal Teke dwindled during the '80s as the breed struggled to cope, just like everything else, around the early days of Soviet Union's collapse.
Currently, as many as 6,600 remnants are said to exist, most of which are in Russia while parts of Europe and the US are also said to have a few of them galloping within their borders.