Of the many horse breeds found throughout the world, the Akhal-Teke comes out as one of the oldest and rarest, with less than four thousand left in existence altogether. Originating in Turkmenistan, the breed was vigilantly developed over many hundreds of years. One of the benefits of shaping the breed in such a harsh environment emerged in it tremendous constitution. The breed is well known not only for its endurance but its ability to easily cope in the harshest, most unforgiving conditions. Even though it can come in various colors, it is typically the golden shimmering color that observers tend to notice first.
Though well muscled, the Akhal-Teke is quite a long and slender breed with many slender features. Were it not for the lack of overly dense muscle, they would not be able to subsist off of less than nourishing food sources as well as they do. Looking at their long bodies, one would guess that they were built more for speed rather than stamina. However, their temperament as well as their physiological makeup makes them best for activities requiring staying power. The Akhal-Teke is highly intelligent and is also grouped in with other hot blooded breeds such as the Arabian. As many trainers have come to find, an Akhal-Teke will generally attach itself to one particular owner.
There are a number of Akhal-Teke enthusiasts that insist the breed is related to other extinct varieties of horse that were once bred in neighboring areas to Turkmenistan. Having been raised by tribesmen and nomads alike, there are no real written records of the breed's history. At one time or another, there were attempts to crossbreed other varieties of horse with the Akhal-Teke. However, whether trying to create a superior racehorse or workhorse, attempts often proved fruitless as the expected results rarely developed. The breed came within one thousand horses of extinction in the late 1800's. Luckily, there were enough enthusiasts that tenaciously worked to keep the breed from completely going over the edge.
These days, the breed's athleticism is put to good use in endurance races, dressage, show jumping and many other activities. Its long history as an endurance horse means the Akhal-Teke will always expect to stay busy. It is definitely a breed that will not do well for the part time rider. Keeping the mind, body and soul of the Akhal-Teke healthy will require some type of vigorous activity on a regular basis; otherwise, owners risk having a horse that becomes aggressive or unruly. The Akhal-Teke will always be at its best doing what it was bred for over the last six to seven hundred years.
Of those who take on the ownership of the Akhal-Teke, many are impressed by the breed's strong desire to bond with its handler. This comes from their early nomadic days when families treated their horses with great affection. Those wanting a breed they can form a strong and reliable partnership with will find just what they are looking for in the Akhal-Teke.