Akhal-Teke

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The Akhal-Teke, Ahalteke in the Turkmen language, (pronounced [ahalˈtekje]),[needs IPA][odd IPA] is a horse breed from Turkmenistan, where they are a national emblem.[1] They are noted for their speed and for endurance on long marches. These "golden-horses" are adapted to severe climatic conditions and are thought to be one of the oldest surviving horse breeds. There are currently about 3,500 Akhal-Tekes in the world, mostly in Turkmenistan and Russia, although they are also found throughout Europe, Australia and North America.

The breed became popular with the Russians, who established a breeding population at their state stud farms. Many Akhal-Tekes were bred at the Tersk Stud in the northern Caucasus Mountains, and later moved with the head breeder Vladimir Petrovich Shamborant to the Dagestan Studfarm.[2]

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Breed characteristics

The Akhal-Teke typically stands between 14.2 and 16 hands. These horses are famous for those individuals who have a golden buckskin or palomino color with a distinct metallic sheen. However, a number of other colors are recognized, including bay, black, chestnut, palomino, cremello, perlino and grey. The Akhal-Teke's most notable and defining characteristic is the natural metallic bloom of its coat.[3] This is especially seen in the palominos and buckskins, as well as the lighter bays, although some horses "shimmer" more than others. The color pattern is thought to have been used as camouflage in the desert.[4] The cream gene that produces buckskin and palomino is a dilution gene that also produces the occasional cremello and perlino. Akhal-Tekes are not thought to carry the dun gene or roan gene.

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