Akhalteke - is the most ancient horse breed in the earth; its best qualities, which the Turkmen had developed at the early stages of racehorse breeding, remained practically unchanged till our days. Today's representatives of the breed differ from their ancestors, which had lived a millennium ago, by tall growth and more regular and harmonious constitution. Having brought to perfection the methods of horse-breeding in the course of horses rearing and training, our ancestors - folk selectionists - had developed a unique horse culture type, which later had spread far beyond the region.
The Akhalteke breed of horse is distinguished for wonderful exterior, elegance and smartness of harmonious forms, developed musculation, distinctiveness of tendon and chord system, hardness and sensibility, devotion to its master. By the exterior alone, it is impossible to mess it with any other one. They have light and small head, elegant and sticking out ears, large flexible and expressive eyes, smoothly arched long neck with developed back of the head, a powerful, but rather “elegant”, croup. With tall growth, its constitution is extremely lean.
The mane and tail are sparse; body hair is short, tender, silky and brilliant. Its color may be golden-brown, golden-dark, silvery-grey and other tints. Apart from widespread paints - chestnut, black, red and grey, infrequent are light-bay, creamy, Isobel, black brown paints. Very often, Akhalteke horse has small blazes on the forehead (depel), sometimes of white color (sakar), and a hairy lock at the low back side of legs (sekil).
The movements of Akhalteke horse in straddle are smooth and fluent, its at- a-rot running - relaxed, gallop running - at a high speed, curvet - even and fast like flying over the earth. Actually, it is one of the world's friskiest horse breeds; the entire characteristic of the horse with its hot temperament testifies to its born runner nature. All this is the result of hard work of many and many generations of Turkmen horse-breeders in the sphere of selection.
Today, in compliance with modern requirements, the selection work includes such directions as: perfection of the exterior, running and sport qualities of the breed; conducting of the industrial control over the selection measures in the horse-breeding farms; to rear the unaltered male horses in compliance with the toughest requirements. Introduction of the advanced experience and modern methodologies of horse-breeding science aimed at the increase of pedigree flock to the Turkmen horse- breeding industry is one of the focal tasks of the sector.
Special attention is given to maintaining the selection documentation. Each horse is on file of specialists of State Association “Turkmen Atlary”. The youngsters are exposed to checks in the immunogenetic laboratories, where the animals' pedigree is specified, and all the data about the horse are registered officially. From the moment of producing posterity, the studhorses and female horses are registered in the State Register Books. From generation to generation, the data and information about horses are systematically brought into the Register Book.
The selection of studhorse and female horses in the production practice is carried out in the process of classification by the following characteristics:
- origin or parentage - pedigree four times removed;
- physical parameters;
- the degree of activity estimated by the results, which were demonstrated in the races, sport achievements, participation in distance tests and marathons, international competitions;
- reproductive capabilities and quality of rising generation (for studhorses and female horses).
Thus, by the selection value and significance in the horse-breeding work, the horses are subdivided by the merit 10-point system into the following classes: elite, selective, the first and second classes.
Breeding of horses is carried out exclusively by their belonging to the pureblood breed, which allows to maintain the hereditary homogeny, securely to preserve and develop the qualities peculiar to the breed. The process is implemented with the use of the following methods:
- breeding by pedigree lines;
- breeding by crossing between the lines;
- breeding by congeniality of different level;
- outbreeding mating;
- breeding, which envisage the family of female horses.
It is worth noting that the first method (breeding by pedigree lines) was used by Turkmen people since ancient times. In times of old, when the Pedigree Books did not exist, every horse-breeder held to the memory the pedigree of racers and was able to enumerate the names of numerous predecessors.
In the book “The Akhalteke horse of Turkmenistan”, its author K.I.Gorelov, who had been investigating Akhalteke horses during his expedition in 1925-1927, made up the line of breeding and the list of horse breeds, identified as:
1. The Boinov's line. Boinov, the starter of the line, - a chestnut horse (born in 1885), by the origin is the offspring of the Akhalteke horse Lyalyanin chepi. The Lyalyanin chepi's pedigree - Garamcha, which originates from Gutlysakar (we consider, one generation, by the age, in the pedigree history of horses approximates to 12.5 years, that is why the third generation of Lyalyanin chepi ancestors falls on 1848).
At present, 13 lines in the Akhalteke horse-breeding start from the Boinov's line;
2. Soltanguly - a colt of Gekpishik,Gekpishik - a descendant of Gyllytov, which, in turn, is the colt of Gutlysakar; being the great-great-grandson of Gutlysakar, it is a relative of Boinov;
3. Nedirbai - was used as a stallion in 1902-1908 in the Zacaspian region. It had won the award at the horse exhibition in Tashkent;
4. Chaparkel (Herrikgala 2);
5. Gechili- by origin, it is the colt of the Ovezmyratdyali horse - a descendant of Yaraji horse;
At present, there are 17 family lines in the Akhalteke horse-breeding sector, identified as: Arab, Aksakal, Akbilek, Garlavach, Gyrsakar, Gaplant, Eyeberdi Teleke, Skak, Pereng, Sluchai, Pakyrpalvan, Melegush, Saparkhan, Gelshikli, Posman, Yel, and Dorbairam.
To the within-said list, by the way of separating from the Gyrsakar family, a new line, Garaderi, can be added.
To preserve and further advance the best characteristics of the breed, the pure-blood Akhalteke horses alone are included in the list of reproduction. When selecting them by the pedigree, special attention is given to their belonging to the line, the family history, value of parents (father and mother) from the point of view of their pedigree-producing value and quality of horse yield.
The properly organized zootechnical work is the prerequisite of efficient progressive functioning of the line from generation to generation.
Cross-lines take a special place in the selection work of Akhalteke horse breeding husbandry. Proficient application of coupling, the horses' belonging to different lines and genealogy complexes lead to the reciprocal enrichment of lines with new qualities and heterosis that manifest itself, particularly, in high work capacity of horses.
For example, in producing offspring, the preferential characteristics of the stallion are taken into account to strengthen the weak positive qualities of the female horse from another line.
While applying the bigeneric crossing, special attention is paid to the manifestation in the posterity of positive results of the lines merger, and consequently, to the selection of male and female lines for further crossing. Upon this condition alone, production is possible of the horses with the display of generic heterosis, which will have the demand-driven exterior characteristics and strong constitution of the body, hard in races and sport events.
In the practice of the horse-breeding work, the bigeneric crossing generated good results: in the Pedigree Horse Complex of the village Garadashayak, Ruhabat etrap, crossing of the horses Shahy and Bahar, a representative of the Eyeberdi Teleke line - Alvan, resulted in producing wonderful offspring - a combination of quickness of Shahy (Yel line) and primordial beauty from Alvan runner (Eyeberdi Teleke line).
Application of the complicated line-breeding method invests in strengthening in the offspring of positive characteristics and properties of the blood-related horses. When using this method, the relation degree is fixed by the generally accepted system of the ancestors line system (by Shaporzhou).
Since early time, in the Turkmen horse-breeding activity, the method was used of crossing the close, interim (middle) and distant relationship in order to propagate the best pedigree qualities to the offspring. Today, when coupling the male and female horses, these methods are applied (if its expedient), especially the method of coupling animals by the interim and distant ancestry. In the Akhalteke horse-breeding trend, the glorious horses were produced by two-side crossing of the related breeds: Eyeberdi Teleke - from Boinov II-III, Garabeg - from Gyrsakar IV-III.
All these methods generate positive results upon condition of conducting of the planned and targeted selection work. To further improve the legendary breed of horses, the selectionists see clearly the aim of the line reproduction of horses, most thoroughly selecting the pairs and continuators of the line.
Today, our horse breeders are working over producing new generations of descendants of famous racers, which continue the best genealogy lines. Turkmen horse breeders with the Akhalteke horses they reared participate regularly in the international exhibitions. Our “celestial” horses traditionally take prize-winning places at the reputable competitions, become champions at the international horse shows invariably evoking admiration of the recognized professionals and experts.
Positive results in the development of horse-breeding work in Turkmenistan are achieved not only due to the organizational-and-economic and selection measures, but also due to close links of the science and production, the dedicated work of many other specialists, veterinaries, seiyis-trainers. Breeding of elite pureblood horses is not only a technologically difficult work; it is the trade for the people wedded to their profession and work.
Honored Horse-Breeder of Turkmenistan