Reviews of the book “My Passion for Akhaltekes” written by Tito Pontecorvo


Looking at the Unusual Beauty and Other Special Characteristics of Akhalteke Horses

From the deserts of Central Asia, Akhalteke horses ride resplendent above the sea of sand. This breed of equines is famous for their speed, endurance, intelligence, and their unique trait—the yellow, metallic gleam caused by their Palomino genes. Many cultures consider them divine, some calling them Argamaks (Russians), and some—like China’s Han Dynasty—would go so far as to sacrifice armies just to obtain some of these horses. A golden Akhalteke galloping across the horizon like a streak of golden lightning is indeed an incredible sight.

My Passion for Akhaltekes, written by Author Tito Pontecorvo is a captivating 360-page book that brings to light the beauty of Akhalteke horses. This 12.4 inches x 12 inches (31 cm x 30 cm) coffee table book contains 300 full page color photos of 100 different pure-blood Akhalteke horses showing their anatomy, type and movements. The photos are grouped according to 10 different lines of Akhalteke horses with each photo covering essential information, including the name, pedigree, birth year, and to which line it belongs to. Uniting the photos in groups helps to see the difference of some details in the anatomy of horses belonging to different lines (inbreed types).

The book also features a separate section, “For the lovers of the Akhalteke horses,” that highlights 120 of the best photos in the author’s distinctive choise. This chapter displays the most outstanding, unusual beauty of the horses, allowing readers to feel the refined taste of the people who lived in Central Asia thousands of years ago and gave birth to a new pure blood breed – the Akhalteke, which, as a matter of fact, is an alive work of art. The book provides essential details such as scientific and statistic information about different inbreed types (lines), how to train and raise them properly emphasizing on their tremendous possibilities and potential in various kinds of equestrian sports, the results of crossing Akhaltekes with other breeds.
This manuscript is the largest book about Akhalteke horses with new, never introduced before, scientific information based on the result of the author’s 36 years work with the Akhalteke horses. Because of the huge quantity of various information in this book, it was classified by LitFire Publishing professionals like an encyclopedia of the Akhalteke breed.

With his passion and practice for more than 30 years on various fields related to the horses of the Akhalteke breed, Author Tito Pontecorvo created a very bright work of art that showcases both scientific information and beautifully captured photos that will surely entice not only horse breeders, but people who enjoy beauty, love, harmony and the arts.


Elle Simpson

LitFire Publishing

December 2016










A fabulous coffee table book on the Akhalteke horse!   This mysterious, exotic and beautiful horse from the steppes of Central Asia is fully explored in 360 large format color photos and text by the world’s leading expert Dr. Tito Pontecorvo.  A must read for every horseman –  a lover of the breed, or just getting acquainted with it, or  anybody who loves horses and art!


My Passion For Akhaltekes

 Dr. Tito Pontecorvo is one of the leading breeders of the exotic Akhalteke horse, and he has authored the comprehensive book on the breed, My Passion For Akhaltekes, which reflects his vast knowledge of this rare horse, its origins, breeding lines, use, and much more in 360 pages of photos and text in a large coffee table format that is a joy for any horseman or person who loves art to read!

The Akhalteke originated in the great deserts of Central Asia many centuries ago, now claims Turkmenistan as home, but is found in increasing numbers in many top stables around the world.   A pleasant breed to deal with, it is a light horse, long and lithe, with a greyhound look to it.  It is a precursor to our modern Thoroughbred as several “Turkish” stallions were imported to England as foundation sires in the 18th century, and so our racehorses of today owe a nod to this unknown breed.

The book tells the story of the Akhalteke, examines the various blood lines, compares them visually in a fabulous series of 300 color photos photographed from 100 different horses, and the author, drawing on his amazing knowledge of the breed, discusses the advantages of maintaining all the different, without any exception, lines within the breed. Given the small number of Akhaltekes worldwide, some 3500 in total, the horse has had a very substantial impact on equestrian sports, including a multiple Olympic medalist in dressage, notable achievements in Three Day Evening, are super jumping horses, and demonstrate domination in Endurance, a sport which they are particularly suited for, as the breed has remarkable stamina.

As an especial bonus, it must be noted that the Akhalteke is as handsome a breed as can be found anywhere.   With beautiful expressive faces, graceful lines, and a pleasant eye, it is a horse that wins the heart of all horsemen, and in reality these horses are A LIVING WORK OF ART.


William Askins

December , 2016








This incredible book shares with us the fruits of Tito Pontecorvo’s thirty six (36) year journey throughout Russia, Turkmenistan, Kalmikia , Kazakhstan, USA and Canada to find and breed the best Akhalteke mares and stallions. Today the progeny of Tito’s breeding program can be found throughout North and South America, as well as Europe, China, Australia, Russia and many other countries.

In the 1980ies Tito traveled with his good friend Vladimir Shamborant to Turkmenistan to select superior Akhalteke brood mares and stallions. In late April 2011, I was with Tito awaiting admission through security at the Hippodrome for the Turkmen Horse festival, when an older Turkmen gentleman hailed Tito stating “you bought my best breeding stock!” He was the manager of the National stud farm in Turkmenistan and invited Tito for a tour of it. Tito acquired from this main Turkmenistan farm these superior mares: Aksona (Pudok-Arpa) 1986, Peren line; Pergozel (Pudok – Arpa) 1987, Peren line; Duiguargush (Pervaz- Dangdan) 1987, Peren line; and others. Tito also selected the superior Turkmenistan stallion Koshili (Kambar- Kirmizi) 1975, Karlavach line, who was a great jumper.

In Kazahstan, Tito acquired some of his best stallions: Gigant, and Amelit. He also acquired his great mares Ataka, Gerel, and Hanbibi in Kazahstan. These horses from Kazahstan were larger and had stronger bones than the Akhaltekes Tito found in other countries. Tito believes that minerals in the soil and the very different climate in Kazahstan caused these differences. Hanbibi’s daughter, Hvoia, is shown with her foal, grazing in Texas in the book on page 13.

In Russia Tito bought superior the stallions Beduin (Dornazarbek-Bazilik) 1987, Gelishikli line, from the Stavropolski stud farm, Osman(Dagestan – Osanna10) 1989, Gelishikli line, from the Dagestanski stud farm, a strong jumper stallion Tagir (Opal- Iagti) 1983, Fakir-Pelvan line, from the Dagestanski stud farm, and stallion Kortik ( Pokot- Korsika) 1984, Toporbai line, from the Kalmikia stud farm.

When Perestroka arrived in Russia, Tito and his wife Natasha moved to Texas with more than seventy (70) of their best breeding stallions and mares. Tito continued his breeding operations at AkhalTexas (USA) and in Dubna (Russia), competing his horses on two continents. At AkhalTexas Tito stood the following stallions: Gigant (Gektor-Akbella) 1988, Gundogar line, Mamuk (Munir-Abrai)1991, Aksakal line, Maruk (Munir-Ataka) 1995, Aksakal line, Arim (Melesur-Abrai) 1997, Sovhos-2 line, Kogan (Koshili-Gerel) 1993, Karlavach line and others.

This book documents Tito Pontecorvo’s contributions to keeping this great breed alive worldwide, improving many Akhalteke lines, especially the Aksakal line, and bringing quality Akhaltekes to North and South America. Through Tito’s eyes we can see the great horses he has bred and professionally trained and campaigned in Russia, Canada and the USA. From this book we see how strong and competitive Akhalteke horses are in different equine disciplines, and how elegant their movement and unusual beauty is. The achievements of Tito’s Akhalteke cross breeds also show the value Akhaltekes have to improving other horse breeds stamina and beauty.

The important worldwide contribution of breeders like Vladimir Shamborant, Tito Pontecorvo and Alexandr Klimuk have allowed many of us to enjoy the extraordinary experience of working with these heavenly horses.

Since 1999 I have enjoyed owning Tito Pontecorvo’s Greguar (Gigant-Gekla). While Greguar has competed successfully in Dressage and Jumping, he has been most fabulous as my field hunter with the Kenada Foxhounds. His incredibly smooth gates, endurance and quick heart rate recovery make him a joy to hunt. The unique bond forged with an Akhalteke such Greguar can never be forgotten.

Rebecca Jo Reser

December 2016




Review of Tito Pontecorvo’s book MY PASSION FOR AKHALTEKES

This book has been years in the writing and a life-time in the making, and it’s an important asset for any lover of the unusual and rare Akhal-Teke horse breed. Tito Pontecorvo is one of the most knowledgeable people in the breed, with decades of breeding them, both in Russia and in the United States, and that knowledge comes through on every page. The book is not simply a book of photos, although photos abound in it, but an expose on the breed itself, including individual chapters on the various sire lines, which are so important in the breed. I am not aware of any other book with this information. The information is then backed-up with many photos, from professional and amateur photographers. The unique characteristics of the breed are also discussed as well as how to save this unique treasure. The book has a chapter on the use of Akhal-Tekes and part-Tekes in sport, again with many rare and unusual photographs. The book ends with an extensive gallery of photographs showcasing this wonderful book. No lover of unusual horse breeds should be without this book.

Beatha H. Sellman

December 2016     



When I think of “horses” and “Texas” in one sentence, naturally, the bulldog-type American Quarter Horse comes to mind. After all, Texas is home to the largest ranches where these horses are still used in every day work.

So, to say the least, I was intrigued to learn about a Russian horse breeder of Akhaltekes, an ancient horse breed that originated in Turkmenistan (a country in Central Asia, located north of Iran and Afghanistan)… just outside San Antonio, TX!

Tito Pontecorvo has bred, raised and trained a large number Akhaltekes, including some of the best-known horses of this breed. He has operated breeding and training facilities both in Russia and in Texas.

The Akhalteke breed is best known for its “metallic” sheen, earning them the nickname “Golden Horse”. Their endurance, speed, intelligence, ease of breeding and foaling, and ability to adapt to the harshest of climates made them an ideal partner as a horse of war. Mr. Pontecorvo and fellow breeders have proven that the Akhalteke is trainable for most modern equestrian events. In fact, Akhaltekes that are given the opportunity under a skilled trainer excel at dressage, endurance riding and especially show jumping.

Despite these efforts, Mr. Pontecorvo and other breeders have also sadly witnessed the decline of this noble breed over the last fifty years.

While celebrating the many noble characteristics of this breed, Mr. Pontecorvo recognizes that certain characteristics of Akhaltekes do not meet most modern fashion “ideals”. Akhaltekes are not low-headed, chisel-nosed beauties with a long flowing mane; in fact, quite the contrary. Their beauty is in a tough, independent appearance with high head, long ears and little mane and forelock. Many professional trainers simply thumb their nose at a horse because it does not present itself in a fashionable way. This causes too many horses that are ideally suited for training and competition to miss the opportunity to excel. Mr. Pontecorvo laments: The tiny number of horses in training is a drop in the ocean; certainly not enough to change the misconception prevalent in the equestrian world that Akhaltekes are unsuitable for classical equestrian disciplines

As part of his effort to reverse this trend, Mr. Pontecorvo has now published a volumous, 12.5” x 12.5”, 360 page coffeetable-style book titled My Passion for Akhaltekes. The book is organized along the best-known pedigrees within the breed showcased in hundreds of large colorful photos.

To say Mr. Pontecorvo has passion for this relatively unknown breed is definitely an understatement. All aspects of this collection of full-page photos and essays (both in Russian and English), is an outpooring of admiration, love and respect for Akhaltekes.

Mr. Pontecorvo took no shortcuts with this impressive publication. The book is professionally designed with an elegant contemporary layout. The paper, print and binding quality are excellent. All photos showcase a horse that in every way demands attention and respect. The writing is informative and to the point. Beside pedigrees and characteristics, the success of cross-breeding Akhaltekes with other breeds – from Arabians to warmbloods – is also discussed. Many champion horses are highlighted with their trainers and riders.

If anything, I would have preferred the more traditional layout in a multi-language book; where languages are set in columns side-by-side rather than the English text following the Russian. It makes reading the book a bit more challenging. It is understandable that some of the older photos are grainy, but I wish some of the low-resolution photos had been reduced in size to present them more compatible with the high-resolution photos. But these are minor distractions.

I truly enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it to any horse lover looking to expand his or her horizon. Even though I have never gotton along with an English saddle, I cannot wait to swing a leg over an Ahalteke after spending time with this book. I hope My Passion for Akheltekes will become a catalyst of renewed interest in this breed. I am sure it will trigger many discussions about which characteristics are most important in a riding horse.

Hats (and English helmets!) off to this wonderful effort.


Rinck J. Heule – Grand Rapids, MI





This is a book i find highly useful for the wide variety of types of horses shown from different bloodlines. Not only are there many beautiful and artistic images, but there are a considerable number of useful conformation photos and they present an overview of a rare breed, where one can see what the horses truly look like at many stages of life. Particularly useful are images of quality mares and stallions and the foals that come from them. There are also beautiful  images of the foals as grown horses of many different body types, shown being used for sport. I cannot think of another book concerning this breed which has this kind of nice photography of a farm’breeding philosophy  presented  to clearly see. There is also information i have not read before, and so i find this a useful reference for the serious breeder, as well as an attractive book for the casual breed enthusiast to enjoy beautiful Akhal Teke horses in all their variety .”


Lora Stansbury Weiss




I purchased my first Akhalteke horse around 2002 from Europe. Since then it has been ever growing challenge to find information about Akhalteke horses, bloodlines and history. Dr. Pontecorvo`s book My Passion for Akhaltekes has brought answers to many questions and offered information in easy to understand format. There are many outstanding photos of Akhalteke horses from different countries which are grouped systematically to show different horses which belong to the same bloodline.  One of my favorite articles  in the book is “Prestige of the Akhal-Teke horses and ways of its improvement”.
I have met Dr.Tito Pontecorvo and his wife Natasha in America. Even though I was a complete stranger who just landed in a small town of Texas  I felt so welcomed by the family and left the ranch with Akhal-Teke stallion Dolomit and mare Moira.  Being from Uzbekistan myself and immigrant to America, I always wanted to preserve the piece of the culture and national heritage from my motherland. Akhalteke horses have become that piece which still connects me to my country.

Dr.Pontecorvo is an amazingly interesting person – scientist, speaker, educator, writer and breeder and I wish many years of success to Pontecorvo family. My Passion for Akhalteke horses is a must have book for all Akhal-Teke owners and fans.


Dasha Cole




Karen Freitas

January 7 at 6:51pm


Knowing Tito I may be a little biased, but will still say it is an outstanding book. Chock full of photos of Akhal-Teke horses from all around the world by a man that has given his life to promote the most exotic, enduring, adaptable breed of horse in the world today. Not only has Tito Pontecorvo produced many international champions, he made tremendous sacrifices to bring the Akhal-Teke to America and was one of the largest breeders and only person to import over 75 of his own horses to the U.S. in a very short time. This is unprecedented! His love and passion inspired him to put together a book to share with all of us today. I will continue to appreciate and support Tito Pontecorvo where ever I can.


Review by Karen Freitas of San Diego, California.
Akhal-Teke affectionado since a teenager.
Owner of an Akhal-Teke colt and filly in early 2000.
Owner of numerous Arabian horses for over 35 years.




I would like to take a moment and tell you about a book that has brought to print a world of beauty that has encompassed a man for most of his life. The book is My Passion for AkhalTekes by Tito Pontecorvo.  This book does an amazing job of depicting, though magnificent  photographs of Tito’s horses, many of the different lines in the breed.  In this way those familiar with the breed are able to learn the traits of the lines and gain knowledge of the breed. For those that are not familiar with the breed just looking at the beautiful pictures are enough transfix your eyes to the book. Tito’s book is a wonderful tribute to the breed and to a man that has given so much of himself to the breed and to those people who love the breed. Thank you Tito.

Giles and Katrina Ardiel
Akhal Valley Farms





My introduction to the Akhal-teke  breed was by accident. I was researching various breeds on the Internet and found an article on Akhal-teke’s. The breed spoke to my heart. Three weeks later I rescued an Akhal-teke cross, my first horse. I am delighted that Tito’s book contains detailed information on the results of breeding Akhal-teke ‘s to various breeds. The information of lines and type has helped me understand the blood lines and is a great reference material. I’ve found having Tito’s insight into the temperament and abilities of the Akhal-teke invaluable as a resource. Having the photographs grouped by line is especially helpful. I love the book and the beauty it displays of the breed with the magnificent photos of the horses. I will enjoy this book for many years! Thank you Tito for sharing your passion!  Regards Gail Frame.



Gail Darlene Frame






Pontecorvo’s book “My passion for AkhalTekes” is targeted at breed enthusiasts and horse lovers alike. The book is filled with both professional and amateur photos of horses he has bred, with an emphasis on tracing sire lines.  There are also photos illustrating  articles that he has written. If you don’t have the resources or time to travel the world to see Akhal-Tekes, this book can give you an insight into Tito’s journey with the Akhal-Teke breed.


Cathy Leddy

February 2017



Tito Pontecorvo’s book, ” My Passion for Akhal-Tekes” is filled with photos that illustrate the many articles Tito has written over his many years of involvement with the breed. Tito has included professional and amateur photos of horses which showcase the breed’s sire lines, and all of the horses pictured are of Tito’s breeding. You can feel Tito’s passion for this magnificent breed in nearly every page of this book.


Jas Shearer

2935 W. County Road 82 E, Livermore, CO 80536

February 2017





Thousands of years ago, in the wild Asian steppes, the first wild horses were captured, tamed, and entered on a long journey through the ages of mutual interdependence, trust, and cooperation. They were the ancestors of Akhal Teke horses, and the first horsemen who entrusted their lives to these wild creatures, mounted their horse’s backs and begun a long journey through the ages, a journey that changed both the human cultures and horses’ abilities. It molded them both into a single unit ideally adapted to each other’s needs for the best survival in the harsh wild world. Today’s Akhal-Tekes are products of this long and wonderful adaptation.


Modern horsemen welcomed first full blood Akhal-Teke horses to the American continent only less than 40 years ago. In 1979, Phil and Margot Case imported from then Soviet Union one stallion and one mare to their Virginia farm. In the following years, foals were born, and more horses were imported, and slowly the numbers of horses and other breeders increased. But finding and buying Akhal-Tekes was hard, there just weren’t many for sale. As a matter of fact, with the total worldwide population being only a few thousand, finding just one or two for US import was a great success to celebrate. Then in 1997 Dr. Tito Pontecorvo left his homeland in Russia, came to the US, and brought with him from his Russian farm more than 70 full blood Akhal-Tekes. Soon he begun to breed, train, and compete them at his ranch in Texas and at various US events. At that time, American Association (ATAA) and the Akhal-Teke Horse Registry were founded, and soon the first American Studbook was published.


Dr. Tito Pontecorvo brought with him to America more than 30 years of unsurpassed professional experience with all aspects of Akhal-Tekes horse breeding, care, training, and competing. Over the years, hundreds of horses were born and raised on two continents by Tito Pontecorvo. Among them, many champions were born and trained at Pontecorvo stables in Russia and in Texas, and they competed and won medals and prizes in a variety of sports, from classical dressage and jumping to endurance and polo, in Europe, North and South America, and in Russia. Today, Dr. Pontecorvo is undisputedly recognized as one of the two or three top expert breeders and trainers of this ancient and aristocratic horse breed anywhere in the world.


Thus it is with great pleasure to have in our hands Dr. Tito Pontecorvo’s book, “My Passion for Akhaltekes.” Vivid descriptions of individual blood lines, supplemented by many photographs, illustrate diversity of the breed’s phenotype, which is so typical of any breed that is united primarily by it’s top performance and functionality, rather than by uniformity of it’s looks, since it evolved in a geographically distant, widely separated areas of the vast Asian continent. This common functionality is evident in our Akhal-Teke horses today, but it’s not always understood and appreciated by our “western” eyes when we instinctively desire to have only one “ideal standard” of conformation. Yet if we limit our breeding to any such one standard of perceived “perfection,” if we breed all horses to look alike, we would loose diversity, adaptability, and plasticity of performance, the chief superior trait where Akhal-Tekes excel. Top performance and versatility that may be illustrated by the stallions of Arab blood line, where some 80 years ago the blood line founder Arab excelled in 3,600 km endurance ride from Turkmenistan to Moscow, and right after that broke and held a record in jumping in Moscow, while his son Absent won medals in dressage at three different Olympic Games.  That is true versatility of performance.


Dr. Pontecorvo in his book shares and transfers to the younger generations of horse breeders, riders, and horse lovers, more than three decades of his knowledge and practical working experiences with Akhal-Tekes, and his philosophy as a breeder and a trainer. In abundant photographs Dr. Pontecorvo presents to the readers prominent features typical in each of the ten Akhal-Teke bloodlines, using exclusively only pictures of  100 different akhalteke horses of his own breeding. He illustrates his ideas by visual examples and typical features of different horses, the pictures that represent most of the variety of the entire gene pool, of the various phenotypes within this fascinating horse breed. This book offers a great tool for the beginners as well as experienced breeders of Akhal-Teke horses.


“My Passion for Akhaltekes” fills the void that we have in the English language information and literature about the Akhal-Tekes. Thus Dr. Pontecorvo’s book is much welcome not just by the owners and lovers of Akhal-Teke horses, or lovers of horses in general, but also by all those people who love the beauty, strength, intelligence, and graceful elegance of all animals.


Milena J. Stoszek, Ph.D.

Retired Professor

Animal Science – Biochemist/Geneticist

Owner of Akhal-Teke Ranch

Moscow, Idaho

February 2017





I learned about Akhal Teke in a book when I was a girl and it was love at first sight! Then I started looking for as much information as I could on the internet to learn more about these horses. That’s how I had my first encounter with the name Tito Pontecorvo. So many videos about his farm, this magical place filled with akhal tekes! I couldn’t stop watching those videos over and over again! Then I went to British Colombia to work for Sandra De Blois at Lone Larch Akhal Teke and a dream came true! I worked with these intelligent, loving and athletic horses for 3 months. I also had the chance to take photos of those mythical horses.

A few years later, I received a message from my idol himself. Tito Pontecorvo was writing to me, a young french woman in Quebec… He saw some of my pictures of Maruk and wanted to use them in a book about my dream horses. I couldn’t believe it, it was such an honor! That’s how I became a little part of this great piece of art. My eyes cannot have enough of all the great photos in «My Passion for Akhaltekes». So much precious information about all the bloodlines and all the genetic of these golden horses. Nobody can imagine all the pride I felt when I saw the book for the first time… You can see and read all the passion and knowledge Mr Pontecorvo has in this book. It’s a legacy for all the breeders, riders and just lovers of this unique horse breed. Tito is a man who dedicated his life to improving and stand for Akhal Tekes, that’s something to honor and respect. I want to thank him again for this opportunity and all he as done, without even knowing it, to make me fall in love with Akhal Tekes.


Sarah-Maude Thibault

February 2017




                         REVIEW of the book MY PASSION FOR AKHALTEKES 



Due to a cyclone and its after effects I had a day inside. Luckily I have recently purchased Tito’s wonderful book ‘My Passion for Akhal Tekes’. I really enjoyed the book and now have a fantastic collection of photographs to check when searching pedigrees and lines. In Australia we are limited to 5 active purebred Akhal Teke horses an imported mare in utero her two daughters, their sire (the only active stallion) and another imported mare. So once I finished the book I was once again online looking for possibilities. Sadly any horse purchased for Australia incurs about a $30K importation fee.
So for now I can only be satisfied with such books as Titos.


Denice Kaye

March 2017


                                           REVIEW OF THE BOOK   * MY PASSION FOR AKHALTEKES “


“My passion for Akhal Tekes» is a wonderful glimpse in the world of one of the most special and magical breeds, the Akhal Teke of Turkmenistan. It is also the reflection of Tito’s lifelong dedication to the breed and efforts to make it better known in the world as well as promoting it as a sport breed. Through the wonderful pictures in the book, the reader has the opportunity to learn about the different breeding lines. I highly recommend this book, for the sheer beauty of it and especially so if wanting to learn more about Akhal Teke horses and hopefully owning one one day.”


Tanya Rosen

March 2017


 I purchased My Passion for Akhaltekes by Tito Pontecorvo for the
 beautiful pictures. When I got my book that week I was more than pleased
 that the pictures exceeded my expectations. In addition, there was all
 kinds of interesting information about the breed. It was also fun to see
 that the book was written in English and Russian. As a life-time horse
 lover and amateur artist, I highly recommend this book.
 Judy Glaser
 Bothell, Washington USA

March , 2017