The agenda of session was focused on the organizational issues and on discussing and approving of the Association’s activity short-term plan.

In his opening remarks, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov called the first session of the International Akhalteke Horse- Breeding Association a historic event, given its significancy in the horse-breeding husbandry development. Association creates a good base for preserving, protecting and improving the pedigree clean Akhalteke horse breed, and also for popularizing and increasing the global name recognition of the «celestial» runners considered to be standard.

The head of state has outlined the scope of major tasks the Association faces, which include: integration of efforts and coordination of actions of the Akhalteke horse connoisseurs and specialistsexperts related to the horse-breeding husbandry advancement; organizing and conducting of the issue-related meetings, scientific conferences and symposium, as well as contests of racers and international exhibitions of Akhalteke horses.

Regarding establishment of the International World’s Thorough-Bred Akhalteke Horses Pedigree Book (Stud- Book) as one of the priority directions, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has assured the members of Association that the Government of Turkmenistan would render every kind of support and assistance to ensure successful activity of the Association.

For us, world-unmatched, our «horses of paradise» are the priceless treasure, said the Turkmen leader, giving assurances that the Turkmen state would always show care for raising the pedigree horses - our national pride, for succession and development of the best horse-breeding traditions of our ancestors, and for involvement of the youth into this sphere.

Today, the horse-breeding sphere is far beyond the scope of the agricultural direction; it has become a cultural, social and, even, political phenomenon, a powerful uniting factor for the people of different ages, confessions and nationalities. Long ago, the interest to the Akhalteke horse breed fell outside the borders of Turkmenistan. A corollary of it is the successful activity of large horse- breeding centers in a number of countries of Europe and America.

At the session, the Benelux Akhalteke Horse-Breeding Association’s President Ms. Michel Van Kasteren (Luxemburg) made a speech, in which she touched briefly on the activity of Association she heads (50 members from 15 countries). Ms. Michel Van Kasteren has expressed her admiration for magnificent conditions created today in Turkmenistan for the horse husbandry advancement, for preservation and increase of the Akhalteke breed. But the time dictates its particular requirements to the contemporary Akhalteke horse husbandry.

Ms. Michel Van Kasteren noted that integration of the Turkmen horse husbandry in the international sectoral industry would serve not only to the benefit of the high-valuable horse flock enhancement, but it would be a significant step in gaining by Turkmenistan firm and leading positions in the world’s horse-breeding industry. She stressed that as an integral system, the Turkmen President-initiated International Akhalteke Horse-Breeding Association would promote further spread of «celestial runners» all over the world and increase of their glory.

The session agenda included also the ceremony of delivering certificates to the new members of International Akhalteke Horse-Breeding Association. In the cordial congratulating remarks, the President of Turkmenistan, Chairman of the International Akhalteke Horse-Breeding Association presented the certificates to the representatives of 16 organizations, including the horse-breeding associations of the USA, Canada, France, Spain, Benelux, Uruguay, Iran, the Chinese People’s Republic, Czech, Hungary, Mongolia, and others. The session participants have coordinated the International Akhalteke Horse- Breeding Association’s further activity plan, the results of which are expected to be discussed at the Association’s next, second, session to be held in April 2012 in Ashgabat.

For the outstanding merits in the development of the Akhalteke horse-breeding industry, the head of Turkmen state Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov – a pundit of the Akhalteke horse-breeding art and the author of landmark book «Akhalteke Horse – Our Pride and glory» – was elected as the President of International Akhalteke Horse-Breeding Association.

Tatyana Nikolaevna Ryabova, a Russian world-renowned hippologist who made the horse-breeding her lifework, was elected the Association’s Vive-President. The Association admitted to its membership over 80 horse-breeders, scientists and specialists from all regions of the world.

Thus, the I session of the International Akhalteke Horse-Breeding Association has become an important step in building up of a common strategy of the legendary runners production throughout the world, a landmark event that turns Turkmenistan into the developing international horse-breeding center.

***

That same day, Ashgabat hosted the III International Scientific Conference - «Turkmen runner and the world’s horse- breeding art». Organized by the «Turkmen Atlary» State Association in the conference hall of the new building of Agricultural Complex of Turkmenistan, conducted already for the third time, the forum brought together in the Turkmen capital scientists-hippologists, horse-breeders and biologists, historians and ethnographists, and also journalists from scores of the countries.

In all, the conference and the International Akhalteke Horse-Breeding Association’s first session brought together delegations from almost 40 countries, the vast geography of which testifies to the Turkmen racers’ great popularity. Apart from the Central Asian region’s countries, the event participants represented such countries, as the USA, Canada, Uruguay, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Sweden, Spain, Luxemburg, Belgium, Czech, Netherlands, Austria, Romania, Hungary, Estonia, Turkey, Oman, the UAE, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, China, Mongolia, Austria, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia.

In the frames of forum, the presentation ceremony was held of the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov’s book – «Akhalteke Horse – our pride and glory», which was released in the Azeri language by the initiative of Equestrian Sports Federation of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

The work of conference was organized as panel sessions focused mainly on such issues as history, present-day status and advancement of the hippology science, upgrading of the sector’s material base, new approaches to conducting the selection-and-pedigree work aimed at preserving and increase of the Akhalteke horses elite flock and the horses’ genofond, organizing of the international equestrian competitions.

The thought, that the horse is, certainly, to be employed in sports, runs like a scarlet thread through the reports of many of the conference participants. This is precisely why the Turkmenistan’s state policy in this sphere is directed at erecting new hippodromes and equestrian sport schools, at upgrading the professional level of sportsmen, and training specialists. In the course of forum, consideration was also given to the topical issues linked with the key trends of the Turkmen and 
world’s hippology development and with the prospects of the international cooperation advancement in the Akhalteke horse-breeding industry.

The newest methods of preserving and improving the horses’ exterior properties, conducting of immunogenetic investigations, the developmental prospects of the various equestrian sports and riding tourism, training of hose-breeders – this and many other directions in the horse-breeding sector activity have become subject to professional considerations, interested discussions of specialists and experience exchanges.

It was stressed that at present, in every corner of the world, a sustained interest is evinced in the revival of horse- breeding stud farms, scientific and educational base of the sector, equestrian clubs. In this regard, the retained-through-the-centuries Turkmen horse- breeding traditions, the national school of horse training attract the keenest interest of professionals. Exactly the Turkmen people not only proved able to donate to the world such a creature of the national selectionists’ highest art as Akhalteke runner, but they have also managed to preserve whole blood of these priceless horses with their splendid qualities.

Of particular interest were the reports devoted to such themes, as reflection in the literature and art of various epochs of the horse-breeding history and traditions, the role of racer in the development of human civilization, and also popularization of the Akhalteke horse breed and spread of information about it.

***

Next day, April 23, the Akhalteke Horse-Breeding Complex with participation of the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov hosted the ceremony of awarding the winners and prize-winners of the International Akhalteke Horse Beauty contest and the participants of the creative contest of carpet-makers, jewelers, artists and sculptors who devoted their works to the beauty of «celestial» racers.

The arrival of the President of Turkmenistan to the venue of event heralded the startup of the holiday. Expressing heartfelt gratitude to the President, on behalf of the inhabitants of Akhal, Balkan, Dashoguz, Lebap, Mary velayats and Ashgabat City, representatives of velayats donated horses to the head of state. On behalf of elders - the most esteemed citizens of the country, the head of state was presented with the holiday clothes of a rider and the silvery-gray horse Shagadam.

In the skyblue robe decorated with golden embroidery and in snow-white papaha (hat), the leader of nation jumped with ease on horseback and has demonstrated his splendid riding skill to the enthusiastic spectators. Prancing to the music, Shagadam has precisely performed all commands, and in conclusion, galloping, with the rider astride it was running along the racetrack. In one of the moments, a snow-white pigeon descended on the shoulder of the leader of nation – an age-old symbol of the highest blessing, recognized by many nations of the world.

After a round of applause, the International Expert Commission chaired by T. N. Ryabova started its work on determining the most beautiful racer. The 15- member Commission was made up of the scientists, horse-breeders, workers of art. Along with Turkmen specialists, the commission included also experts from Iran, Luxemburg, Russia, the USA.

One after another, 10 pretenders - Melekush, Hanbegler, Kapdagy, Hanburgut, Dosbag, Garagum, Perman, Bezmein, Arafat, Kaan - recognized as the best by the results of the two elimination rounds among more than a hundred of Akhalteke stallions in the age of 3-10 years step onto the viewing ground.

Thrice, the stallions were walking before the experts: first, in the dressage bridle only, then saddled and in the national horse furniture, and at last, with a rider astride the horse.

The winner is to be irreproachable in terms of the strongly pronounced qualities of the breed, heaviness, absence of any of exterior defects, well-trained and gentle to the dress man.

In pursuance of the Commission’s resolution, the cream-colored stallion Han- begler - registration number 10 03 001 08 (Bitaraplyk 100300595 – Gulalek 100300601, year of birth 2008) was recognized the contest winner, which won the main prize of the President of Turkmenistan and the Challenge Cup. To the thunderstorm of applause and rejoicing of the audience testifying to the approval of the Commission’s decision, the owner of Hanbegler, Ovlyaguly Sharipov, was handed in the keys of the new car Jeep Land cruiser-200.

Then, the Chairperson of jury T.N. Ryabova delivered main prizes on behalf of the President of Turkmenistan to the winners of the contest for the best artistic work. They are: a carpet designer, the People’s Artist of Turkmenistan A. Gutlyev - for the most exquisite carpet with the depiction of Turkmen racer; a jeweler S. Goshaev – for the smart furniture for  Turkmen racer; the People’s Artist of Turk  menistan V. Gyllyeva – for the best artistic  depiction of Turkmen racer; the People’s Artist of Turkmenistan, sculptor S. Babaev – for the sculpture of Turkmen racer. 

***

After the dressage of the best Akhalteke stallions, at the hippodrome, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov invited to the government box for a short conversation the GPC Chief Registrar, IAHA Vice-President Tatyana Ryabova.

In the course of conversation, the discussion was given to the issues of further joint work on preserving and improving the Akhalteke horse breed. In particular, the talk was of certifying the Turkmen Molecular Genetics Laboratory to accede the International Genetics Association (ISAG), to create the seminal bank of outstanding producers, and to improve the pedigree record-associated work regarding it as the main guarantee of preserving the purity of the breed. Besides consideration was also given to the issues of the equestrian sports further advancement, 
improvement of the veterinary servicing and state support of the private horse- breeders.

President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has approved the choice of the International Expert Commission led by T.N. Ryabova, and expressed hope for the productive cooperation with the international Akhalteke horse-breeding community in the work aimed at further development of horse husbandry, study of the breed on the scientific basis, preservation of the breed purity, and spread it all over the world.