by Amber Powell
The Akhal-Teke is one of the most distinctive breeds you will see. While they comes in various shades of bay, gray, black, dun, chestnut, and gold, all Tekes have a metallic polish on top of their base color. This unique breed is considered no less than three thousand years old, and is surmised to be the last remaining strain of the Turkmene, developed with out any other breed influences. The studbooks were closed during the turn of the twentieth century, after trying to cross Tekes to English Thoroughbreds. These crosses were deemed so destructive to the breed that to be registered in the studbooks now, the Thoroughbred ancestors of a Teke must be no less than 15 generations back. Foals are also blood-typed, and all new breeding stock is inspected. Any stallion not producing the right type offspring can be stricken from the studbooks. The breed standard includes a long back, high withers, deep rib cage, long fine and dry legs with clearly defined tendons, powerful croup and splendidly developed hip and thigh muscles. The Teke also has another feature unique to the breed - the head is set on the neck at an acute angle such as can be found in no other breed, yet the horizontal line from the mouth seldom passes above the highest point of the withers because of the long neck and small head. The head is light and dry with a long refined face, long fine ears and the unique "Teke" setting and almond shape of the eye. They have a fine, silky mane and tail, the mane being so sparse it is almost absent on many. The fine breeding of these horses is reflected in their sensitive skin and hair coat that is also very fine and silky.
The Tekes' main use was formerly as a war and racehorse. In the twentieth century, the Teke excels as a sports horse, especially in jumping, eventing, and a growing popularity for endurance.
The International Association of Akhal-Teke Breeders
The Akhal-Teke Association of America