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AKHAL-TEKES IN SPORT

The Turkmens have always been passionate enthusiasts of racing. Moreover, speed was an important attribute of the war horse and for centuries their horses were selectively bred to develop and maximise this quality. There is evidence that in Europe too the methods used to train racehorses originated in Central Asia. In respect of speed the Akhal-Teke comes second to the English Thoroughbred and to warmbloods with a high proportion of Thoroughbred blood. Akhal-Teke breed bears the following records: 1000 m 1.03,9; 1200 m 1.16,7; 1400 m 1.28,5; 1500 m 1.40,2; 1600 m 1.43,6; 1800 m 1.57,0; 2000 m 2.11,5; 2400 m- 2.41,6; 2800 m 3.09,6; 3000 m 3.00,5; 3200 m 3.40,9; 4000 m 4.39,2.

Absent The twentieth century presented the Akhal-Teke with new challenges. Today a riding horse is first and foremost a sports horse and the most ancient breed has also excelled in this field. Everyone has heard of the black stallion Absent, seven times national dressage champion, first Soviet champion at the 1960 Rome Olympics and medallist at two subsequent Games. Absent's marks in dressage - 82.4% have not been surpassed. Absent's sire, the gray stallion Arab (Kazbek) took part in the famous 1935 ride from Ashkhabad to Moscow, covering 4300km in 84 days. For the next 12 years he successfully competed in the All-Union eventing and show jumping championships and at the age of l6 - a respectable age by any standard - became national show jumping champion in the prestigious "USSR Cup" and "Supreme Class". Polet In the Puissance Arab cleared 2m l2 cm. Nor did his offspring shame their famous sire, Absent. Abakan, Arguvan, Dombai and others were all in the national dressage team. Another Akhal-Teke, the small light bay Poligon set new Puissance records over five successive years, achieving a maximum height of 2m. 25 cm. When the long jump was an official competition the Akhal-Teke stallion Perepel "flew over" 8m 78 cm.

For the third year in succession (l999-2001) horses belonging to the Akhal-Teke breed (Man, Arslan, Kovum, Karamashal and others) are winning and being placed at the World Cup show jumping competition qualifiers in the countries of the Central Asian region (Bishkek, Alma-Aty, Tashkent).

Galambia The Akhal-Teke also possesses the essential qualities for the discipline of eventing which requires rapid recuperation after intensive effort. Such representatives of the breed as Propeller, Maksut, Galambiya, Bugar and others have demonstrated their ability by winning and being placed in major three-day events.

Peikam The Akhal-Teke also has a promising future in the sport of endurance riding which is growing in popularity all over the world. Akhal-Teke horses have long been renowned for their great powers of endurance. In l945 the stallion Tarlan won a 500 km endurance ride in which eight different breeds took part. More recently, in l999, when endurance riding was once again included in the sporting calendar after years of being consigned to oblivion, the Akhal-Teke stallion Peikam won a testing l20 km marathon around the Moscow ring road, amd in 200l the stallion Zabeg became Russian champion over 60 km.




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