The National Symbol

The horse in the center represents the Akhal-Teke horses. Around the horse there are five “gils”. Gils a pattern that you will find in the center section of every Turkmen carpet. Each of the main tribes of Turkmenistan has a defined pattern which would be used in all carpets made by that particular tribe. So the patterns also represent the five main tribes of Turkmenistan. On the outside there is cotton, since cotton is the main agricultural product of the country and, together with natural gas, the source of its wealth. On top is the crescent as signal of Islam and five stars, representing the five velayats (i.e. provinces) of the country.

The Achaltekin (or Akhal-Teke) horse was bred by the tribe Achal-Teke (Akhal-Teke) in the southern part of Turkmenistan near the Iranian border. This horse is considered to be the most pureblooded descendant of the ancient breed of the native Iranian horses in the central Asia. He grew up on the steppes and deserts of Turkmenistan. He is known for his toughness, endurance and his ability to handle long rides in the sandy dessert terrain. During the summer months at 120’ F the horse can daily cover a distance of 100 to 120 km (about 60 to 75 miles). During the national endurance tests in the year 1935 the horses of this breed covered the distance from Ashgabat to Moscow 4,300 km (2, 672 miles) long in 84 days; a part of this ride 1,000 km (622 miles) long led through waterless desert where there was no grass or trails. The Achaltekin is from the Turkmens’ horses relatively tallest and most refined.

The head is medium long, straight profile, slim nose, with small moving ears and with prominent, large eyes. The neck is long, straight (often “U-neck”) and relatively low set. The withers is high, the chest is not too wide and not quite deep. The back is long and soft with longer hindquarters that are well tied in with the back in the loins. The legs are for most part correct with well-developed muscles and clean (dry) tendons. The coat is short, shiny and lying down tightly to the skin. In color the Achaltekin horses are grays, chestnuts or bays.

In the reproduction literature the Achaltekin horse resembles more the English Thoroughbred than the Arabian.

The breeding center of these horses is the surrounding country around the city of Ashgabat. The Turkmen, like the Arabs, remember the lines of their horses and traditionally they are past from one generation to the next. Today there is kept state registry of this breed (stud-book).

There were recognized 9 stallion lines from which five of them go to the stallion Boinou (Boynou) whose most prominent/potent grandsons formed separate lines, thus the line Boinou proliferated to five lines: Mele-Kusha, Mele-Tchena, Baba-Achuna, Doblet-Ishana and Bek-Nazar-Ala; also belonging to the line of Boinou are the lines of Vorona, Sultan-Guli and Tchopar-Keila.

Including the Orlov trotter and the Don horse, the Achaltekin is/was the most important breed of horses in the formal Soviet Union.


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