The Incredible Akhal Teke Horse – A Brief History

The Incredible Akhal Teke Horse – A Brief History

(Photo insert: Geldy Kyarizov, September 2015, with an Akhal Teke, after Geldy was freed from one of the world’s most brutal prisons. Courtesy, The Longriders’ Guild)

The Akhal Teke – Incredible Horses, Incredible Tales

Occasionally, I go “off topic” from my blog to bring a piece of important info to friends or colleagues.

For some inexplicable reason, I never knew of the Akhal Teke breed of horse until just a couple of days past. I discovered a close friend had been instrumental in freeing an undeserving prisoner from one of the most notorious and brutal gulags in the world, located in Central Asia, in the country known today as Turkmenistan. The man, Geldy Kyarizov (picturerd) had been imprisoned when exposing the Turkmen government’s cross breeding program of Akhal Teke horses.

I share this story because

  1. I love horses (if you couldn’t tell) and ride endurance horses
  2. The story of the Akhal Teke horse is profound and incredible.
  3.  I tell the story here to not clog up the American Endurance Ride Conference’s (“AERC”) Facebook Page. My hope is my endurance riding friends check this out and come to appreciate that the Akhal Teke horse could be a significant contender in endurance riding.

A Very Brief History – The Akhal Teke Horse

The words of my friend, follow.

Start Discussion (from my friend)

The horses today known as Akhal Teke were famed in the ancient  world as being the fastest horses alive.

In 1414 the Chinese emperor sent a diplomatic mission to Central  Asia to attempt to obtain these rare, fast horses for the Han  empire.

By the 19th century the Akhal Teke horses were used by Central  Asian tribesmen intent on profiting from slave raids into Persia.  The Akhal Tekes horses were kept constantly wrapped in thick felt
blankets. They were fed a special diet, including balls of mutton  fat and barley. The result of this training method were horses  that could gallop two hundred miles into Persia, have a captive woman thrown across the cantle, then race home to safety.

After the Czar conquered Central Asia, the Russians became fascinated with Akhal Teke horses. They were highly prized, until  Stalin came to power, at which time all animals larger than a chicken were seized by the state.

In 1935 a small group of Turkmens rode their Akhal Teke horses  2,500 miles from Ashgabat to Moscow in 84 days, to petition Stalin to save the breed. The ride worked.

When the Soviet Union conquered Nazi Germany, the victorious Russian General Zhukov rode an Akhal Teke stallion in the parade through Red Square.

Geldy Kyarizov – A Hero of the Akhal Teke

By the late 1980s, as the Soviet Union was beginning to implode, one man, Geldy Kyarizov, decided to re-create the 1935 journey to draw attention to the breed. He too rode to Moscow.

When the new country of Turkmenistan was created, the Akhal Teke breed was known and respected, but hardly seen outside the Central Asian country.

The new government put Geldy in charge of promoting the breed world wide. Geldy’s stallion was chosen to appear on the nation’s national logo. He was respected around the world as being one of the most knowledgeable Akhal Teke experts in history.

Turkmenistan was ruled by a ruthless megalomaniac and political tyrant. When Geldy learned that Thoroughbreds were being secretly bred to Akhal Tekes, he used DNA evidence to prove the ancient
breed was being tampered with by the government.

In response, Geldy was arrested, tortured, put on a show trial, and then jailed. His family suffered intense poverty. His stables were destroyed. His horses were starved.

An international effort was made to obtain Geldy’s release but to no avail. For thirteen years he and his family suffered with Geldy remaining imprisoned.

In 2014, after every type of diplomatic and government agency had failed, an Akhal Teke breeder, residing in England, wrote to The Longriders’ Guild as a last resort. When it was learned that Geldy qualified to be listed as a Member of the Guild, the Guild engaged several steps to cause his release.

End Discussion (from my friend)

How Geldy was Rescued by The Longriders’ Guild

This link to The Longriders’ Guild describes how the Guild rescued Geldy and his family from tyranny. And it delves more thoroughly into the history of the Akhal Teke horses.

More Historical Background on the Akhal Teke Horse

More background on the Akhal Teke horses may be found at Wikipedia and at the Akhal-Teke Association.

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2 Replies to “The Incredible Akhal Teke Horse – A Brief History”

  1. Hi Gordon, I came across your name as one of my blog followers. Thanks so much for following me, Always Write! I love the name of your blog and your intro page. You must be extremely busy! Your story about Geldy Kyarizov touched me. Most of us, thankfully, have no idea how it feels to be so powerless as Geldy and his family must have felt while he was in prison all those years. Thanks for sharing the story.

    1. Thank you Marsha for the kind words. Yes, I am one of your blog followers.
      The Geldy story reminds me that life can take a turn in so many directions at a moment’s notice. And one’s experiencing changes likewise causes an effect on others. Geldy’s experience caused me to open my eyes on many levels even though I do not know the man.
      But, thank you for commenting, for the kind words and for following my blog as well.

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