Akhalteke: the World’s Oldest Breed

Originally from the area now known as Turkmenistan, Akhaltekes are heralded in all the world as superior competition horses; specifically in dressage, jumping and eventing. Recognized by their large, expressive eyes, light and dry heads, and straight or Roman profiles, they carry high-rise necks, long exterior lines, and are known for their long, productive movements during the trot or gallop. They are big horses: stallions stand between 15.3 and 17 hands.

Akhaltekes have been described by Russian Olympic and world-champion dressage rider Elena Petushkova as unusually intelligent, graceful, and elegant like ballerinas; they exhibit a cat’s elasticity and an astonishing plasticity of movement. This breed has also been described as extremely hard-working with persons whom they trust.

Renowned equestrienne Susan Hutchison is currently training one of Dr. Pontecorvo’s stallions, Kogan, with great success. “Although he is green, he shows great potential, 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 … It is my opinion that in the middle of the 80s, America went too warmblood crazy and its been in the last five years that we’re swinging back direction.”

Kogan (Koshili-Gerel) Karlavach line with Susan Hutchison


The high quality of this amazing breed in undeniable. Time and time again, Akhaltekes have earned high-standing spots in classic equestrian sports as well as breeder shows.
“… The Akhalteke is a horse we need to pay attention to. It has stamina, the heart of a lion, and nice conformation. Heads up to this old breed… although new in the US it has proven itself elsewhere.” – Susan Hutchison, Grand Prix champion, shown here with Kogan (Koshili-Gerel). The two have placed consistently in the ribbons, including first, on the HITS circuit, Level 6, Indio, CA

“The Akhalteke represents the acme of perfection of world horse breeding.” — Vladimir 0. Vitt, Hippoiogist, USSR Academy of Sciences

“Akhaltekes move so freely and have such agility that the movement never punishes joints, ligaments, feet or tendons… They have shown me all the joys of each breed in one horse!” — Eloise King (Schwortz), famous top rider
Today the largest and highest quality Akhalteke farm in the U.S. is owned by Dr. Tito Pontecorvo in Nixon, Texas, where over 70 of his stock are registered in the International Stud Book of Pure Blood Akhaltekes.

To learn more about the Akhalteke breed, or to visit these magnificent creatures in person, please call 830-582-1061 or write: P.O. Box 276, Nixon TX 78140. Or, contact Susan Hutchison at 909-217-3933.

The article was published in “The Chronicle Of The Horse” May 9, 2003, Vol. LXVI, # 19.