Profile: With its unusual, gazelle-like appearance, the Akhal-Teke (Ah-cull Tek-y) is an incredibly distinctive breed. Experts say the Akhal-Teke breed is at least 3,000 years old. The Akhal-Teke may be the last remaining strain of the Turkmene (a horse that has existed since 2400 B.C.). In the Middle Ages (500 to 1500 A.D.), Akhal-Tekes lived with nomadic tribesmen near the Kopet Dag Mountains in Turkmenistan. The nomads treated the horses as part of their families, tethering them near their shelters. In the early 1900s, Russians used Akhal-Tekes as cavalry horses. Today they excel in sport, particularly in racing, show jumping, dressage and endurance racing.Characteristics: The Akhal-Teke’s coat has a metallic sheen, although some shimmer more than others. The unusually thin, yet flexible neck makes it seem ‘above the bit’ by modern standards, however, this flexibility is considered an asset. The Akhal-Teke developed in a rocky, flat desert so the breed evolved with a long narrow frame, which created a flat, gliding gait. For more information: Akhal-Teke Association of America
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