The Akhal Teke is an ancient type of horse, possibly descended from some of the same common ancestors as the more well known hot-blooded breed, the Arabian. They developed in the Kara Kum desert that covers most of the country of Turkmenistan where they were required to tolerate extremes of arid heat and cold. In this harsh climate, the horse would have had to survive on sparse food and water supplies. Akhal Tekes lived closely with their nomadic humans, each being essential to the other’s survival. The first official breeding farms of the Akhal Tekes were started in Russia, which Turkmenistan became part of in the late 1880s. Thoroughbreds were introduced into the bloodlines with the intention of improving the breed, but the effort was unsuccessful. Interest in the breed, and the interest in many other horse breeds was curbed during the turmoil that marked the early days of Soviet Russia, and numbers dwindled.

However, with the freer market environment of the last decade, more Akhal Tekes are being bred in an increasing number of countries.

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