Turkmen horses, beauties and champions
From the pre-Islamic era in Iran until recent times, Turkmen horses played an important role in the wars and victories of Iranian kings, especially Nader Shah Afshar (1688-1747 CE), one of the most powerful rulers in
The Chinese people were also well aware and very fond of Turkmen horses. They even called them “Heavenly Horses,” tasteiran.net wrote.
Where to find Turkmen Horses
Iranian Turkmens live in the northeastern part of the country. They were initially inhabitants of a larger area, from northwest of Kazakhstan to Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, to the north and northwest of Afghanistan and northeaster Iran. About a third of this population live in Iran; they speak Turkish and Persian, and they have strong cultural representations. During the time of Stalin in the former Soviet Union, some Turkmens fled to Iran. The land they lived in is called “Turkmen Sahra.” As they migrated to Iran, they did not leave their honorable culture or their horses behind.
Role of Turkmen Horses amongst Turkmens
Traditionally, the Turkmens were nomadic people, living as tribes in tents and villages, going from one place to another. For most nomadic people, horses play an important role. They are part of their culture, tradition and identity. For Turkmens, their horse means everything to them. Their lifestyle and culture are tied with horsemanship. Turkmen horses are beyond being just a beauty. They have a reputation for their speed, intelligence and strength. Their adaptation to extreme climate conditions makes them one of the toughest in the world.
In 1881, based on the treaty of Akhal, signed by Czarist Russia and Iran, Turkmen tribes were separated. A small part of them remained in Iran. Later on, with all the social changes throughout the years, especially during the Soviet period, one Turkmen tribe remained loyal to their traditions, one of which is horse breeding.
Akhal-Teke is one of the most distinctive and most unusual horse breeds in the world. It was bred in the oases of the Turkmenistan desert in northern Iran around 3,000 years ago. Akhal-Teke breeds are such that they are only suited for horse races and long-distance performances.
There are several distinguished breeds of Turkmen horses in the world, with different purities in their genes. These breeds were created to resist the new geological conditions as well as the gradient mountains.
A solution was to combine them with the blood of Persian-Arab horses. This crossbreeding resulted in the creation of a new class called the Lomud. Chenaran is also a new class, which is a blend of Turkmen and Arab horses. Akhal-Teke, Lomud and Chenaran are the three main breeds in Iran. Since the 1920s, breeding has been done based on tradition.
Why are these horses so special?
The reason that these horses are so special is their traditional breeding. A professional breeder chooses the candidates, allows them to move freely around the hills and mountains, observes them, and makes the final decision on which stallions are best suited for generation.
Races, auctions and events
A popular activity in the Turkmen culture is horse racing. Horse racing is performed in almost all national holidays, tribe events, wedding parties, etc. Official horse races have been held in different cities such as Gonbad-e Kavous, Aq Qala and Bandar Turkaman since the 1920s. Also, there are annual events where people can buy and sell horses. A well-known public festival is held every year in the Sufian Village of Kalaleh County, Golestan Province.
A horse beauty contest as well as horse races are other events that take place annually. Horses are judged based on their pedigree, their walking style and appearance. Also, an auction is held a day before the event for anyone interested in purchasing