|The Akhalteke breed of horses came to us from the ancient times, more than 4000 b.c. This breed signalled the beginning of all world culture horse, breeding, the main place for which was Central Asia.
There are a lot of sources (ancient documents, illustrations, carvings and fossil records) that describe the ancient horses of Central Asia. The characteristics that are used to describe these horses closely resemble the characteristics used to describe the Akhalteke breed. When discussing the Akhalteke breed there is a big argument concerning the very rare color of Palomino and Dun, which has a metallic shine. The Asian horse from the ancient sources and the modern Akhalteke, are tall horses with high-rise necks, long exterior lines, light and dry heads and straight or Roman profiles. The Akhalteke breed of horse possesses a very beautiful golden/silver shine, large expressive eyes, has little or no hair around the main and down the back of its neck, it also has long and productive movements during the trot and gallop (it is the second fastest horse after the thoroughbred).
Alexander Klimuk, one of the leading horse breeders of Russia, states in his paper titled “The Purebred Akhalteke Horse And Its Influence On Other Purebred Breeds” (published in Ashkhabat, Turkmenistan in January, 1999, in “The Akhalteke Quarterly”) “The ancient origin of the Akhalteke horses was first discovered and proved in Russia only a little bit more than 100 years ago in the work of professor B. Fisov, in his article “Turkestan And The Turkestan Horse Breed” (published in St. Petersburg, in 1895, in The Journal Of Horse Breeding). Since then this issue was developed further by the works of Braunder, Kovalevsky, Afanasyev, Vitt, Lipping, Salikhov, Belonogov, Kovalevska et al. For the horse breeders in the Soviet Union it already long ago has become an axiom that the Akhalteke is the world’s oldest pureblood breed. It’s known from Herodot that the best horses of ancient times were from the Massadete and the Parthian people. Parthian horses were often called Nisaiene after the capitol of the Parthian empire Nyssa, the ruins of which are found near Ashkhabat, Turkmenistan.”
The Akhalteke breed got its name from the Turkmenian tribe Teke. The status of pureblood breed is very rare. To attain a pureblood status you would need to have the following: The breeding needs to occur in a geographically closed off place, the method used by the individuals breeding the horses needs to be constant and unchanging. With the previously mentioned things present the process needs to go on for a very long time for a breed to get a pureblood status. Turkmenistan was the ancient center of horse breeding and it met all the requirements for breeding purebloods including the fact that it was geographically closed off (from the west by the Caspian Sea and from the other sides by two deserts). The main way of communication between countries of Central Asia in ancient times was the famous Silk Road by which caravans carried goods for sale and/or trade. Eventually when goods were moved by ship the Silk Road lost its purpose and Central Asia (which includes Turkmenistan) became very isolated. Due to the fact that the Silk Road was closed no other breeds of horses were brought, this preserved the appearance and the pureblood status of the breed.
In the article “The Potential Influence Of The Akhalteke On Sport Horses In The U.S.” written by Dr. Robert K. Shiedeler in “The Akhalteke Quarterly” in October 1998 with Professor Witt (One of the foremost equine authorities of the U.S.S.R. Academy Of Sciences) states “The Akhalteke possesses the last drop of that valuable blood of the southern horse from which all breeds of well bred horses throughout the world have been developed. The influence of the Akhalteke on the world of pureblood/halfblood breeding is large”.
Phil Case states in his article The Akhalteke (October 1989 in the journal “Dressage And CT”) “Most people think that the Arabian is a foundation stock for breeds such as the thoroughbred; what they don’t realize is that the Arabian originally was the generic term for any breed of middle east origin and included many breeds, the Akhalteke prominent among them. We’re certain that the Akhalteke played a minor role in the development of the thoroughbred and the Arabian as we know them today. Although specific records do not exist our extensive study of Byerley Turk, one of the three founding sires of the thoroughbred, convinces us that this horse was probably an Akhalteke.”
There are many historical sources that confirm the youth of Arab horse breeding in comparison with the Turkmenian horse breeding. The sources also show that the Arab horse breeding was influenced in its infancy and at later times by the Turkmenian horse breeding.
Alexander Klimuk states (in his article “The Purebred Akhalteke Horse And Its Influence On other Purebred Breeds in “The Akhalteke Quarterly” in January 1999) “It was said by Heradot that Arabs that were in the army of the Persian emperor Xerxes rode camels but not horses. The Assyrian king Taglatfallasar that waged war with4 the Arabs in 730 a.d. accepted gifts from them that consisted of camels and cows, there is no mention of horses. In earlier times, in 26 a.d., the Roman poet Strabon, who accompanied the army commander Eli Gall on his military expedition through Arabia does not tell us anything about the Arabian horses, although he speaks in detail of horses of other countries.”
At the beginning of the Islamic religion there was still no sign of horses in the Arab countries. In fact, the Arab horse breeding began when the Islamic religion began its spread into other countries, one those countries was Turkmenistan. Arab horse breeding began to use horses that were acquired from war and/or brought from other; countries in the region.
Alexander Klimuk states (taken from the same article). “It is interesting that the oral delivery on the hippologists. Al Damari and Abu Bekr Ibn Bedram, tell us about some horses which bore rather Turkmenian rather than Arab characteristics, among them The Dun mare Sabkhakh and Palomino stallion El Vagr, had colors which cannot be found in the Arabian breed but are common for the Akhalteke. Around 1400 a.d. in Iraq, Arabian breeders pared their mares with the Akhalteke and that way the Munigi type was developed, differing from the classical Arab in its taller size, longer more angular lines of their conformation and in higher speed. [Words borrowed by Alexander Klimuk from K. Raswan, E. Schile (They are the biggest experts of the Arabian Breed, says Tito Pontecorvo), et al)] Many of these horses came to Europe and founded the modern Arab horse breeding. Also in our days the outstanding Russian experts in the Arab horse breeding O. A. Balakshin recognizes some Akhalteke characteristics in the conformation of the Syrian-Arabs. There is proof of the breeding of the Turkmenian horses in Syria until the beginning of the 20th century. There are strong arguments and concrete facts that show that when in making the English thoroughbred the Akhalteke played a vital role.
Alexander Klimuk states (taken from the same article) “It is known from English literature that when raising the English thoroughbred the main horses that were used were Arabs, Turks, Berbs. Many of the horse breeders of the world then and now think that Arab horse played a vital role in the making of the English thoroughbred. For some reason the Turkish horses are thought of as Arabs, and as a rule no one speaks of Turkmenian horses in the literature.” “By the way, it is an undeniable fact that no other breed in the world that is equal in specialty of the exterior of the English thoroughbred like the Akhalteke.” “There are amazing similarities between the paintings of the horses of the east which were used for raising the English thoroughbred with the Akhalteke horses. In reality the two official, real sires, Darley Arabian and Byerley Turk, are very similar to the typical Akhalteke horses.” “In the raising of the English thoroughbred breed there were two other famous stallions Dun “Dun Arabian” and Palomino “Darcis Yellow Turk”; it is known that in the Arab breed, in comparison with the Akhalteke breed, those types of colors are nonexistent. According to the chronological and osteological research done by professor M. N. Belonogov and nowadays the striking similarity between the modern Akhalteke and the English thoroughbred was found. You inevitably get hit by the same idea comparing the old English and Turkmenian training and eventing systems of race horses. This is work under blanket, races with many rounds, early breaking of young horses and some other elements. The Arabs have nothing similar and it might have come to the English with the Turkmenistan trainers who accompanied the horses. Here it is also necessary to specify the relationship between the Turkish and Turkmenian horse breeders. Being the successor of Turkmenian tribes the Turks had real Turkmenian horses from the beginning. The Danish traveller Karsten Nibur who was in Arabia and Turkey at the end of the 18th century wrote “The Turks do not highly respect the Arabian horses, they prefer to have tall impressive horses under the saddle, which look most impressive with their splendid adornment.” According to reports by the European travellers until the beginning of the 20th century the best horses in the stables of the sultan of Istanbul were Akhaltekes brought from Turkmenistan.”
Tatiana Riabova (The president of the Russian Association of Akhalteke Horse Breeding) states in her article “The History of Using the English Thoroughbred Blood in the Akhalteke Breed” in “The Akhalteke Quarterly” in January 1999 “In only the 18th and 19th centuries more than 200 pureblood, very high class Akhalteke stallions were imported to England. In the Stud Book of English thoroughbred stallions (look at Von Ettingem) 15% of the stallions used for the development of thoroughbred racing horses were originally from Turkmenistan.”
Dr. Robcrt K. Shideler states in his article “The Potential Innuence of the Akhalteke on Sport Horses in the U.S.” in “The Akhalteke Quarterly” in October 1998 “The Akhalteke stallion Byerley Turk and several others in the 1600’s were of considerable influence in the development of the English thoroughbred. His grandson, Herod, produced runners with speed and “tetrarch”, bought endurance and toughness.”
Nereo Laugli from Navara states in his 1977 book “Horse breeds” “Out of horse breeding Arabian mares of Munijui and Yiflan lines with Turkmenian stallions comes the Darley Arabian, the great progenitor of the English thoroughbred.”
The Akhalteke stallion Merw, was imported to England, his breeding fee of 20,000 guineas was the highest in that century. He later came to Ireland where he influenced the development of the Irish Hunter. During 18th and 19th centuries the Prussian institute Trakehnen used numerous studs from Turkmenistan. The Akhalteke stallion Turcmein Atti, bred with more than 200 mares from 1791-1806. From this crossbreeding, 17 stallions were utilized to develop the Trakehnen and thus many German and many non German warmblood breeds.” These 17 stallions passed their qualities to the Nonius of Hungary, half breeds of Czechoslovakia, Rumania and Yugoslavia.
Carl W. Amman, the manager, of the Trakehnen farms, strongly suggested in 1834 that utilization of the Akhalteke in a program to ennoble the European bloodline. His views were echoed by J. Russel Mannings in 1882 (Quoted from http://www.horses.ru/akhal_teke/other_breeds.htm) “The Akhalteke of all breeds is the best suited to, improve the warmblood riding horse.”
The Akhalteke significantly influenced the development of cultured horse breeding in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and other countries of the east. Among the breeds that were influenced in the east are Karabair, Lokai, Naiman, Karabach and Kabardin. Also the Akhalteke influenced many of the Russian breeds such as Don, Streletsk, Orlov and Rastopchin. The largest numbers of pureblood Akhalteke horses are situated in Russia and Turkmenistan.
A famous professor hippologist Vladimir O. Vitt said in 1937 “Russia possesses the greatest number of Akhalteke horses in the world. No country has such a pool of Akhalteke genes as in Russia – a priceless treasure. The Akhalteke represents the acme of perfection of world, horse breeding.”
Pureblood Akhalteke horses appeared in the U.S. in the 1980’s thanks to Phil and Margaret Case who started to import horses first from Soviet Union, a stallion by the name of Senetir and a mare by the name of Oliva, after that they imported two mares from Germany and one more from the Soviet Union. By the end of the 1980’s Phil and Margaret Case had 37 pureblood and halfblood Akhalteke horses. The Sprandel brothers from Germany imported a group of Akhaltekes, but their farm soon fell apart.
In 1997 Tito Pontecorvo imported 33 pureblood Akhalteke horses from the Soviet Union, in 1998 he brought in 18 more from the Soviet Union and in 2002 7 more from the same place. Now, his is the biggest group of Akhalteke horses in America, it contains more than 70 pureblood Akhalteke horses all of which are registered in the Russian and International Stud Book of Pureblood Akhalteke Horses. Tito Pontecorvo, (a PHD) still has more than 100 Akhalteke horses in Russia.
Dr. Tatiana Riabova (President of the Russian Association of Akhalteke Horse Breeding) states the following in 1997 about a the quality and merit of his horses “Dr. Tito Pontecorvo owner and C.E.O. of the stud farm Akhaltekinets is one of the founders and members of the board of the Russian Association of Akhalteke Horse Breeding. The share of the horse breeding farm Akhaltekinets comprises 20% of the total number of pureblood Akhalteke horses in Russia. The mares and stallions which are kept at the farm belong to the leading bloodlines and have earned the top marks for parentage, type and exterior.”
An obvious question comes to mind: What is the reason for the immense popularity of warmblood horses which came to America around the same time as the Akhalteke breed, but the teke breed remains virtually unknown? After much discussion I, Tito Pontecorvo, now understand the biggest reason for the breed being unknown in the U.S. is because of the fact that no one in the U.S. puts the Akhalteke horses in more or less serious competition, for the exception of Phil and Margaret Case who put their Akhaltekes in high levels of combined training.
The American horse world now, as I sec it, is divided into two big groups: People who like the western horses such as the quarter horse and people who like big, sportive horses such as the thoroughbreds and warmbloods. The Akhalteke, of course, is closer to the latter (the thoroughbreds and warmbloods). When you show the Akhalteke to the individuals from the second group many of them will say “The neck is too high.”, “The horse will have problems jumping.” “The back is too long.”, “This horse will have problems in changing its hindquarters.” and many other negative comments. This is understandable because the Akhalteke will be a new and unusual type of horse for them and horse owners in this case are conservative and love their own horses which are quite different from the Akhalteke breed.
The only way to make Akhalteke horses a popular breed for sport in America is to start training them and putting them in competitions so people could see that this breed can win. This will convince everyone. There are no problems with the breed; for the Russian and the European breeders it is an axiom that the Akhalteke breed is of high class horses that can be used in all the classic types of sport. But not every Akhalteke, like in any other breed, can be a winner. You must obviously have a strong, sportive horse that is talented in the type of sport in which you compete. Now we come very close to a discussion about the quality of Akhalteke horses in America. When breeding horses you must always try to do two things: First, you try to make a horse typical for the breed. Second, you must try to create a horse that has strong, productive movements (the latter is very important for sport horses). The American market of sport horses is used to big horses (16 hands and taller), and since the Akhalteke is a new breed for America, if we produce mostly small horses, we will create a false representation of the Akhalteke breed. People will begin to assume that the Akhalteke breed is a breed of small horses when in reality the Akhalteke is a breed of tall horses. In other words we need to save the uniform appearance of the breed while at the same time breed big horses with super movements that can win in open competitions.
Because most American breeders were not showing their horses no strong breeding programs were created, without which you cannot produce many horses typical of the breed which will be able to win in classic types of sport.
Phil Case writes some things that I strongly agree with in “Dressage & C.T.” in 1989. “Take a look at our top horses (jumping, eventing, dressage) for every one up there thousands have been left behind. Many of today’s popular breeds have come from Europe, from countries that send teams to compete in international shows or events. How often does a Soviet team go to Badmington? Or the Dortmund International? Or the World Cup? With less than 500 Akhaltekes outside of U.S.S.R., you can understand why we can’t establish the Akhalteke as a performance horse: there are just simple not enough of them to confirm statistics. And you can sec why we concentrate on our breeding program.”
I agree with Phil Case, but now the situation has somewhat improved since the article was written. There are much more horses of the sportive lines that were imported straight from Russia, whose close relatives are winning in high level competitions of classic types of sport in Russia and in Europe. From this we can conclude that to make the Akhalteke breed more popular in America we need to train our horses and display them in high level competition; in other words, we need to start spending money on professional trainers, shows, articles in magazines, etc. This will help Americans to sec the Akhalteke as a horse able to compete and win in high level competition in classic types of sport. It is a shame that up until recently not one Akhalteke in America horse bas shown more or less serious results in classic types of sport (Obviously with the exception of Phil Case, his horses have shown excellent results in three day events.)
In 1999 and in 2002 practically all of the pureblood Akhalteke horses were evaluated the results showed that the largest and most high quality group of pureblood Akhalteke horses in America exists in Texas, owned by Tito Pontecorvo. (The results were published in Akhalteke Quarterly, in1999 and 2002.) Currently in America, the % of horses that were born in his stables in the U.S. and in Russia and are currently owned or were sold by him make up a staggering 70% of all the pureblood Akhalteke, horses in America. Today more than 50% of the pureblood Akhaltekes in America are owned by Tito Pontecorvo. Listed here are some of the achievements of the Akhalteke horses that were born in the stables of Tito Pontecorvo in Russia (who are close relatives with the American Akhaltekes that were also born in his stables Russia).
Here are the results for breeder shows and classic types of sport in Russia and in Europe. In 1999 in Moscow a championship was started in which the ten best Akhaltekes of the world are chosen.
In 1999, in that championship, in the group of 2yr old stallions, stallion Tom took 3rd place (Parents: Melesur/Tepele), in the group; of 3yr and older mares, mare Galambia took 6th place (Parents: Melesur/Galateia), in the group of 3yr and older stallion, stallion Buian took 4th place (Parents: Bedouin/Yagti).
In the same championship, but in 2000, mare Galambia took 3rd place (Parents: Melesur/Galteia), stallion Buian took 6th place (Parents: Bedouin/Yagti), stallion Tom took 7th place (Parents: Melesur/Tepele). In the same championship, in 2002, stallion Torn took 5th place (Parents: Melesur/Tepele), stallion Samarkand took 9th place (Parents: Mamuk/Sona).
In the All Russia Horse Show in Moscow, in 2001 from the 20th to the 24th of September stallion Gagur (The father of whom is in America and is currently owned by Tito Pontecorvo) took 1st place and the title of Champion Of The Breed (Parents: Gigant/Gumsara).
In 2002, in a horse show in St. Petersburg, Gagur got 2nd place. In 2001 (on the 1st and 2nd of November), in Verona Italy, in the 103rd Show Of Fierakavalli, for the first time in the history of the show, Akhalteke horses were displayed, Akhalteke stallion Torn became the star of the show. In 1998, pureblood Akhalteke horses were evaluated in Switzerland. The top places were handed to young horses that are the offspring of horses born on Tito Pontecorvo’s farm young mare Mazarina got 1st place (Parents: Mamuk/Galateia), Gayan took 2nd place (Parents: Gigant/Angema). For the same evaluation in 1997, Goblin got 1st place (Parents: Gigant/Angema).
In 2000, the president of the Russian Association of Akhalteke Horse Breeding evaluated pureblood horses in France. The best horse was mare Annushka (Parents: Aladin/Huanita, both of which were born on Tito Pontecorvo’s stables in Russia.)
In 2001, from the 7th to the 9th of May, in the Championship of Russia in Three Day Events (Obviously in Russia), young mare Galambia took 1st place (Parents: Melesur/Tepele), Bugar took 10th place (Parents: Bedouin/Gvozdika). In 2000, on the 17th of August in Moscow in The Endurance Race of 32 km, mare Mest took 1st place and the marking for the best condition (Parents: Munir/Atabaska).
In 2001, in May in the Endurance race of 145 km mare Mest took 8th place. In 1999, 6th to 8th of September, in Jumping and Dressage competition, in the prize of Arab (a famous Akhalteke stallion), (130 cm for young horses) stallion Buian got 4th place (Parents: Bedouin/Yagti). (As previously mentioned, all of these horses were born in Tito Pontecorvo’s stables in the U.S. or in Russia and are still owned or were sold by him, unless otherwise specified.)
From the previously mentioned information about Tito Pontecorvo’s Akhalteke horses you can see that his horses have a stable, high standing in the arena of some types of classic sport and a top standing in breeder shows. From these facts you can draw a conclusion that the Akhalteke breed will step out of the shadows in America and this will signal the beginning of some serious competition with the other breeds, because the high quality of this amazing breed is undeniable. Of course this can only happen if people begin showing more horses from more states and more farms, unlike now, when Akhalteke horses from very few farms are being shown.
Now, a few words must be said about the strength of the Akhalteke genes when crossbreeding with halfblood and thoroughbred mares. Some time ago in Russia, I had a group of 15 halfblood mares and I bred them with pureblood Akhaltekes, mostly with stallion Bedouin. What was the result? The Akhalteke blood made the individual differences of other breeds disappear and made special type of a halfblood Akhalteke, with many characteristics that are typical for the Akhalteke breed. They were tall, with long exterior lines, had light, beautiful heads, long necks and elegant, productive movements.
Mare Mest (Parents: Munir/Atabaska), that won the Endurance Competition of 30 km, is 1/4 thoroughbred and Akhalteke; stallion Bugar (who got 10th place in The Competition Of Three Day Events) is 1/2 Akhalteke, 1/4 thoroughbred and 1/4 Orlov Trotter. It is my strength opinion that, when crossbreeding the Akhalteke with other breeds, the result is surprisingly successful: potentially strong, sportive horses.
The Akhalteke horses have long held a high reputation in the world classic sport arena as a breed that produces excellent horses for the classic types of sport. Famous Absent won the gold medal in the Olympic Games in Rome in dressage in the 1960’s, a bronze medal in dressage in the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, 4th place in the Mexico Olympics; in 1968, he was also a seven time national champion in Russia. Another very talented and outstanding Akhalteke dressage horse is stallion Abakan he, along with rider Elena Petushkova (who was a champion of Olympic Games in dressage, world champion, etc.), won the national championship in 1979 in Russia and the U.S.S.R. winter championship. Throughout history there have been many talented Akhalteke jumping horses. Akhalteke stallion Arab, the father of the famous Absent, jumped over a 2 m 12 cm fence. The stallion Poligon jumped 2 m 25 cm, the Akhalteke stallion Perepel, in the 1950’s in Ashkhabat, Turkmenistan, did a broad jump of 8 m 78 cm (The official longest record of the F.E.L is 8 m 26 cm). Stallion Saper ran 5 miles in 11 min 10 sec; stallion Magdan covered 50 km (31.25 m) in 1 hr 25 min. The famous stallion Penteli was a many time national champion for jumping in Russia.
Now, I believe, some newer results of the Akhalteke horse in the classic types of sport are needed. In the world cup of the central Asia region in 2000 on the 10th – 13th of May, in the town of Alma Ata, Kazakhstan and on the 1st – 3rd of June in the town of Tashkent, Uzbekistan, very nice results came up. In the Konkur Grand Prix Class (150/160 cm), the Akhalteke horses got 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 6th places. The rider Nazarov and stallion Arslan got 1st place (Parents of the horse: Abdurahman/Selbiniaz), Arslan is also a champion of the highest jump in Uzbekistan (1 m 92 cm). Rider Sadikov and stallion Karamashal got 2nd place (Parents: Sultan/Altinai) rider Suranchikov and stallion Man got 3rd place (Melekush/Akva). Of the 30 prize places, 16 were occupied by Akhalteke horses. In the grand Prix of Dressage the first place in all disciplines was occupied by the rider Buicevich and stallion Volan (50% Akhalteke), the second place in dressage was awarded to an Akhalteke stallion by the name of Gipur (Parents: Gektor/Parketnaya). The Akhalteke stallion Mogah got 3rd place in San George Class and 5th place in grand prix (Parents: Mekan/Hamina).
In 2000, after the competition in jumping at the World Cup of the Central Asian Region in three tours (Bishkek, Alma Ata and Tashkent) the F.E.I. rated the horses that participated in this competition. The First place was awarded to an Akhalteke stallion Arslan (Parents: Abdurahman/Selbiniaz). It is also interesting that in 1999, in the World Cup, of the Central Asian Region, the ratings were won by Man, an Akhalteke stallion (Parents: Melekush/Akva).
In 1999 on the 7th of August in, The Endurance Competition In Moscow of 120 km, (In which some of the judges were English and were judging under international rule) 1st, 3rd and 4th places were taken by Akhalteke horses. In this competition horses from many different breeds were competing (i.e. Arabs, Thoroughbreds, Halfbloods, etc.)
Now, I would like to show to you what the experts of the highest class of horse breeding and well known masters of the classic types of sport are saying about this breed.
Eloise King (a.k.a. Schwortz) states in December 2002 “Although the Akhaltekes fully mature later than most other breeds, every day of patience, waiting, gives off ten fold – when they reach their maturity height of strength and talent: it is there for many years. Why?…… Because these horses ‘ware well’. They move so freely and have such agility that the movement never punishes joined ligaments, foot or tendons. They ‘ware well’ themselves. The feet are place don the ground and seeing many of the Akhaltekes move (many different horses) I am always impressed with how they move. I love the long forearm and again I must stress how they move across the ground. Then come the riding. Sitting on such a mover for me was never imagined. The race track (Licensed Trainer), a jump rider, equitation rider, leading dressage rider, a judge, always a student, a life of almost 60 years in the saddle with ponies, thoroughbred, Lusitanos, Arabs, etc. The Akhalteke showed me all joys of each breed in one horse WOW! It is an experience I marvel at every day as I work these beautiful horses.”
Vladimir Shamborant, chief selectionist at the breeding stables – Konsomo in Ashkhabat; and Tersky, Dagestansky in Russia, states “Akhalteke horses have a very taught constitution, are unpretentious in their food habits, are rarely ill; the mares become pregnant with a high probability, are hardy, rapidly restore after working; the breed is ideal for long trips, they jump like cats. The Akhalteke horses are not hot like thoroughbreds; they are very smart and intelligent animals.”
Elena Petushkova, Olympic champion, world champion, vice president of the Russian Federation of Horseback Riding Sport, bureau member of the International Federation of Horseback Riding Sports” The farm created by Tito Pontecorvo can be called an oasis in the economy desert surrounding us in Russia. In few words one can say about Akhalteke horses that they are unusually intelligent, graceful, and elegant like ballerinas; they exhibit a cat’s elasticity and an astonishing plasticity of movements. All these unique characteristics have permitted Akhalteke horses to become champions in numerous competitions in jumping and dressage. Thus, for example the Akhalteke Absent was champion of the Rome Olympic Games led by Sergey Filatov. Akhalteke horses are extremely hard working, with persons whom they trust”.
Dr Andreas Mayer Landrut, former ambassador of Germany of the U S.S.R., director representative of the Mercedes Benz firm in Moscow, Vice president of the horse sports in Germany “Owing to my profession I have, been for a long time, and still live in Russia. I fell in love with the Akhalteke horses a long time ago. There is no horse more beautiful than the Akhalteke. It is a very ancient pureblood horse unlike the Arab horses it is a very large horse, which has shown excellent results in all kinds of classic horse sports.”
Susan Hutchison is one of the world’s top show jumping riders; won over 30 grand prix show jumping competitions since 1988 with twelve victories m 92 alone while competing from cost to coast aboard three different horses (Samsung Woodstock, Asap, High Heels) Hutchison won six grand prix, including the richest prize on the west coast, The 100,000 grand prix of the desert. By May 1994, she was already the winner of three grand prix that year; including the Del mar grand prix for the third time in four years, and a west coast; candidate for the us equestrian team tryouts for the American representatives to the world; equestrian .games to be held in August at the Hague in Holland. After competing against the top horses and riders in the country at the 1994 trials in Gladstone, New Jersey, Hutchison finished among the top four to qualify as a member of the worlds championship team. She went to represent the U.S. in Hague in Holland in 1995, Hutchison was again a nominee for the A.H.S.A. Hertz equestrian of the year and voted California horse woman of the year. In 1995 she; was the leading west coast Volvo world cup qualifier. In 1997 Susan was the highest point qualifier on the west coast for the Volvo world cup finals. Susan won lots of other competitions in many other parts of the world and she states “For several months I have had the pureblood Akhalteke horse Kogan in training for Tito Pontecorvo. Although he is green, he shows great characteristic, has a super spring off the ground when jumping and displays enough stride and scope to take him all the way. Kogan has the heart and sensitivity of a thoroughbred, which is something I am very fond of. It is my opinion, that in the middle of the 80’s we in America went too« warm blood crazy and it has just been in: the last five years that we are starting a swing back direction. The Europeans used stallions like Lucky Boy, Lady Killer, Morlon, for example y all thoroughbreds. They were headed in the correct direction as we were going wrong. I had the privilege of going to Texas to sec many of Tito’s pureblood Akhalteke horses and I feel this is a horse we need to pay attention to. It has stamina, the heart of a lion and many with nice conformation. In the jump chute they all appeared to be careful enough without the warmblood spook more logical thoroughbred spook. I say “Heads up” to this old proven breed – the Akhalteke. Although new in the U.S., its proven itself elsewhere.”
All the horses on the photos are owed by Tito Pontecorvo and were photographed on his ranch in Texas, U.S.
Tito Pontecorvo, 2003