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The Magnificent Iridescent Horse Called the Akhal-Teke
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The Magnificent Iridescent Horse Called the Akhal-Teke

Horses
Breed Facts

This magnificent breed of horse is one of the oldest and purest in the world today. As a bonus, Akhal-Tekes just happen to be one of the most versatile breeds on the planet too. In times long past, these elegant animals were bred for battle and were considered by many as being the finest war horses ever in ancient times. They were highly prized with cultures in Central Asia, Russia and their native land of Turkmenistan, vying to own one such beautiful horse.

Akhal-Tekes were prized for their beauty, speed and stamina and boast being the ancestors of the modern thoroughbred. Today, the Akhal-Teke is still used in horse racing their native homeland of Turkmenistan. In 1935 one of the most prized stallions in Russia called “A'rab” competed in what is considered as the most gruelling race in the world called the Ashkhabad to Moscow, proving just how much stamina this wonderful breed has got and just how much courage they boast.

The Akhal Teke – The Master At All Disciplines and Levels

The beauty of the breed is only out-shined by its versatility. Tekes have often proved themselves to be one of the best endurance horses on the planet. But when it comes to dressage, show jumping or eventing, these gorgeous horses excel at each of the disciplines at any level. The most famous Akhal-Teke was a horse called “Abscent” taking his rider to many Olympic games and winning gold and bronze individual medals for dressage on several occasions.

A Rare Breed Today

The breed originates from Central Asia and was in ancient times commonly found in the oasis cities where they were hugely prized. Today, the oldest breed of horse in the world is also, sadly, one of the rarest breeds on the planet too. For too long, the Akhal-Teke remained the world's best kept secret, but luckily many breeders have come to realise the value of these horses for which there are just not enough superlatives to describe them.

A Pedigree Second To None

When it comes to ancestry, the Akhal-Teke has a lot to boast about having the world's first and largest as well as strongest warhorse of Central Asia in their family tree. These warhorses were revered by the Persians and the Medes. In China, the Emperors called the Akhal-Teke the “Celestial Horse” and would trade vast amounts of produce as well as money, and think nothing of travelling thousands of miles to get their hands on these magnificent “Celestial Horses”. This same route became known as the historic Silk Road.

The Supreme Iridescent Coat

When it comes to the Akhal-Teke's coat, they are simply amazing, changing colour in different lights due to their iridescence. There are very few breeds of horse that can boast such a variety of colours as the Akhal-Teke, some of which are mentioned below:

The Gorgeous Dominant Black

Akhal-Tekes boasting this gorgeous colour are often referred to as Electric Black or Raven Black in colour. Black is the more dominant of the colours but in the sunlight the coats glisten and glitter with hues of blue or purple. In Russia, the colour is so prized it has been given its very own name “voronaya”.

The Superb Grey

The colour grey when it's an Akhal-Teke takes on a new meaning and appearance. Although “grey” does cover horses that are pure white to the more dapple colours which as they age, turn pure white too, it is the iridescence of the Teke's coat that has to be seen to be believed.

The Magnificent Mahogany Bay

Akhal-Teke's have gorgeous coats and when bay each hair tip is black which gives the coat a gorgeous “sooty” look to it. Because of this they are therefore many variations of the colour which again have to be seen to be believed.

The Tidy Spectacular Bay

Bays are spectacular and again Tekes coats simply glitter with hues of gold and red, making an ordinary bay something that is visually astounding.

​The Extraordinary Dark Bay

With so many variations of dark bay and this includes black bay, Akhat-Tekes often boast gorgeous dapple markings in their coats with golden and red hue highlights.

The Stunning Chestnut

Due to their iridescent coats, Tekes tend to be more golden in colour than red chestnut. However, there are many shades of chestnut which makes the colours so wonderfully varied.

The Wondrous Cremello & Perlino

Akhal-Tekes with cremello and perlino coats are quite exquisite and very often the horses also boast blue eyes. Many owners notice these gorgeous eyes can be seen even when it is dark.

The Exquisite Grulla

This is an extraordinary colour which has hues of “olive” in it, is truly amazing – the colour is exquisite and quite unique to the Akhal-Teke breed.

The Extraordinary Coat of the Akhal-Teke

The breed, as previously mentioned boasts having an amazing coat which has an almost metallic glow to it. The structure the horse's hair makes this happen, with some parts of each strand being totally transparent whereas others are not. The light is reflected through the transparent part of each hair and it bends as it passes through the strand, refracting the light out on the other side. The result is the coat appears to be iridescent and changes colour in different lights.

When it comes to blue eyes, many Akhal-Tekes boast having these extraordinary coloured eyes, including bays, chestnuts, black or greys. Many of the breed simply have one blue eye and not two which is another typical trait of the breed. Sometimes, a horse will have a partially blue eye which is simply stunning to look at.

These magnificent horses from Central Asia are making a comeback and thankfully, will be around for future generations to enjoy and admire. The ancient Chinese rulers described the Akhal-Teke as the “Celestial Horse” and today, these gorgeous creatures are proving just how valuable they still are in the equine world.

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