The Akhal Teke is a most distinctive breed of horse. This most unusual animal is native to Turkmenistan. The breed has adapted to the extremely harsh climatic conditions of their enviroment. They are believed to be among the oldest of the existing breeds of equines. There are currently an estimated 6,600 individuals of the species alive today. The majority of these remain in Turkmenistan and nearby countries. The breed is renowned for several characteristic traits. The Akhal Teke is considered among the most intelligent of horse breeds. They are also known for possessing great speed and endurance. They are best known, however, for the distinctive sheen of the coat some individuals manifest.
Akhal Teke Physical Characteristics
The adult Akhal Teke generally stands between 14-16 hands (58-64 in/147-163 cm) at the shoulder. The breed presents a variety of colors. These include black, bay, grey, chestnut, and cremello. It is those individuals possessing the cremello color that are best known. This is the result of possessing a dilution gene. The gene is actually there among the majority of individuals. However, it is only the combination of the gene and the cremello color that generates the unique sheen. Additionally, there are other physically distinctive characteristics. These include slightly longer than average ears, and somewhat almond-shaped eyes among some individuals.
Akhal Teke Usefulness
The Akhal Teke is predominantly used now only as a show horse. The breed also excels at jumping and endurance races, even today. However, their hardiness and agility made them highly useful in earlier times. Their slender physique and agility made the Akhal Teke outstanding horses for crossing desert regions. The breed adapted to require little water. This allowed for desert crossings with fewer stops. In 1935, a group of men riding only Akhal Teke spent 3 days successfully crossing a 235 mi (378 km) stretch of desert, entirely without water. #ourbreathingplanet
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