What Do Akhal-Teke Horses Eat: A Detailed Feeding Guide

Are you curious about the dietary needs of Akhal-Teke horses? Wondering what to feed your equine companion for optimal health and performance? Look no further than our detailed feeding guide! In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about “What Do Akhal-Teke Horses Eat”, including key facts and essential details to keep your horse happy and healthy.

Historical Origins

Buckskin akhal teke stallion with one blue eye

The Akhal-Teke horse is an ancient breed with a rich history dating back more than 3,000 years. Originating from Turkmenistan, a Central Asian country, these horses were bred and raised by nomadic Turkmen tribes, specifically the Teke tribe. The Akhal-Teke is deeply connected with the culture and history of the Turkmen people, who valued them for their athleticism, endurance, and intelligence (source).

Turkmenistan is characterized by its arid Karakum Desert, which greatly influenced the development of this unique breed. The Akhal-Teke horses are well adapted to the harsh desert environment, allowing them to survive in the desolate landscape. As a result, they have developed remarkable endurance and agility, which made them highly prized by their Central Asian handlers (source).

Throughout history, the Akhal-Teke was known by other names, such as Nisean and Parthian horses. These names also reflect the breed’s connection with ancient Central Asian tribes, like the Parthians, who were known for their skilled horsemanship and prowess in battle. Akhal-Teke horses played a vital role within these tribes, often serving as war mounts and reliable companions during long journeys across the vast desert lands (source).

The significance of the Akhal-Teke horse in Turkmenistan’s history is further highlighted by the legendary journey of diplomat Zhang Qian from China. In the Han dynasty period (206 BC – 220 AD), Zhang Qian embarked on an expedition to Central Asia, during which he encountered the remarkable Akhal-Teke horses. Enchanted by their beauty and prowess, he brought some of these horses back to China, where they became known as the Han Xue Ma or “sweats blood” horses due to their distinctive metallic sheen (source).

In conclusion, the historical origins of the Akhal-Teke horse are deeply interwoven with the nomadic tribes of Turkmenistan and the surrounding Central Asian regions. Over the centuries, this ancient breed has faced the challenges of the harsh desert landscape, adapting and evolving into the resilient and graceful horse it is today.

General Characteristics

Portrait of a buckskin Akhal Teke stallion standing in sun

Physical Appearance and Colors

The Akhal-Teke horse is an elegant and exotic breed known for its slim and athletic figure, often compared to a cheetah or greyhound due to their sleek conformation. These horses have long, narrow heads, and their ears are also long but set forward. Their unique coats often possess a distinctive metallic sheen, which has earned them the nickname “Golden Horses.”

Akhal-Tekes exhibit various coat colors, primarily bay, black, chestnut, gray, cream, and the eye-catching palomino. Occasionally, they may display dilute coat colors such as cremello, perlino, and buckskin, often accompanied by blue eyes. Regardless of the color, all Akhal-Tekes display a striking beauty that makes them stand out in the equine world.

Personality Traits and Unique Abilities

The Akhal-Teke breed possesses remarkable traits that have been developed through centuries of domestication and adaptation. Originating in the harsh climate of the Karakum desert in Turkmenistan, these horses have learned to endure sparse water and food resources as well as extreme temperature variations. As such, they have garnered a reputation for their strength, speed, and exceptional endurance.

Akhal-Teke horses are also known for their intelligence, which makes them highly trainable and versatile in various equestrian disciplines, such as dressage, show jumping, and eventing. Their unique ability to excel in long-distance racing has made them particularly prized in their native region.

One characteristic personality trait of the Akhal-Teke is their loyalty to a single person, often referred to as a “one-person horse.” This deep bond between horse and rider has been established through centuries of close connection and shared survival between the Turkmen people and their horses. As such, these horses may not be ideal for everyone but well-suited for experienced horsemen and women.

Some commonly seen features of the Akhal-Teke breed include a unique conformation with a lean frame, relatively shorter legs, and a long neck compared to other domesticated horse breeds. Their height typically ranges from 14.2 to 16 hands, with the horses registered in the breed’s registry having standardized measurements and names.

In summary, the Akhal-Teke horse is an ancient and unique equine breed that stands out for its stunning appearance, extraordinary endurance, and loyal temperament. With their distinct metallic sheen, rich coat colors, and one-person horse characteristic, the Akhal-Teke makes for an unforgettable equine companion and competitor.

Akhal-Teke and Performance

Golden Shinning akhal teke horse

The Akhal-Teke is a remarkable horse breed that excels in various equestrian disciplines due to its unique combination of stamina, athleticism, speed, agility, and versatility. In this section, we will explore the performance abilities of the Akhal-Teke in detail, focusing on endurance and stamina, dressage, eventing, show jumping, and the breed’s amazing adaptability.

Endurance and Stamina

The Akhal-Teke is an ancient breed originating from the harsh desert environment of Turkmenistan, where it has been cultivated for thousands of years by nomadic horsemen to possess incredible endurance and stamina. This impressive trait allows them to excel today in endurance races and cross-country events. They are able to cover long distances with relative ease and maintain their speed without fatigue. Their lean build, similar to that of a Greyhound, assists in their athletic performance, especially in extreme conditions frequently found in the desert.


Although not as renowned for their dressage abilities as some other breeds, Akhal-Tekes are very capable dressage horses. Their unique, graceful movements, deep intelligence, and athleticism make them hardworking and trainable partners, resulting in elegant and impressive performances. Their fluid, sweeping gaits and free shoulder movement enable them to excel in dressage competitions, with many Akhal-Tekes achieving solid results at various levels of competition.

Eventing and Show Jumping

In addition to dressage, Akhal-Tekes are quite proficient in both eventing and show jumping, thanks to their agility and power. They are natural jumpers and can easily clear obstacles with grace and precision. Their innate athleticism allows them to tackle complex courses with ease, making them competitive in both national and international show jumping events. In eventing, their endurance and adaptability show through as they face the challenges of cross-country courses, making them an ideal choice for riders looking for a versatile and willing equine partner.

Versatility and Adaptability

One of the key aspects of the Akhal-Teke’s exceptional performance capabilities is the breed’s amazing versatility and adaptability. Known as the “Nisean Horse”, this breed has a long history of adapting to various climates, terrains, and tasks. The Akhal-Teke’s tolerance for both extreme heat and cold has made them popular choices for trail riding and desert racing, while their loyalty and personable nature make them invaluable as therapy and companion animals.

In summary, the Akhal-Teke is an extraordinary horse known for its athleticism, endurance, and adaptability that allow them to excel in a variety of equestrian disciplines. Their endurance and stamina make them ideal for cross-country and endurance races, while their grace and finesse bring success in dressage. Finally, their agility and power enable them to excel in eventing and show jumping, demonstrating the incredible versatility and adaptability that are hallmarks of this remarkable breed.

Breeding and Preservation

Crazy akhal teke stallion dashes forward

Breeding Practices and Registries

The Akhal-Teke horse is an ancient breed originating in Turkmenistan, known for its unique appearance, color, and athleticism. Nomadic people bred these horses for survival, and they had to adapt to extreme desert conditions, such as sparse food and water sources. Today, Akhal-teke horses are a rare and endangered breed, and various efforts are being made to preserve and promote these majestic creatures.

One important aspect of their preservation is responsible breeding practices. Breeders often focus on maintaining the Akhal-Teke’s characteristic features like their height, which usually ranges between 14 and 16 hands, as well as their weight, which is approximately 900 to 1000 lbs. The breed’s unique metallic coat and slender body reminiscent of Greyhounds are also essential attributes to consider during breeding.

There are several Akhal-Teke registries worldwide, which help maintain horse pedigrees and ensure the preservation of this ancient breed. The Akhal-Teke Association of America (ATAA) is one example, working to protect and promote this rare breed in the United States. In Russia, the Russian Akhal-Teke Horse Breeders Association strives to protect and preserve the breed, as the Akhal-Teke is also highly regarded in Russian horse breeding circles.

Notable Breeders and Farms

Various renowned breeders and breeding farms around the world have dedicated themselves to preserving the Akhal-Teke horse breed. In the Akhal Oasis in Turkmenistan – the birthplace of these spirited animals – horse breeding has long been a part of their national identity. The Akhal-Teke is considered the national emblem and even features on the country’s coat of arms, banknotes, and stamps. Notable Turkmenistan breeders are committed to maintaining the integrity of the breed while supporting its growth.

In Russia, Akhal-Teke breeding farms have also gained a reputation for their dedication to preserving the breed. Many Russian breeders focus on maintaining the unique physical traits and ancient lineage of these horses. The Russian breeding community plays a vital role in sustaining the breed’s existence outside of Turkmenistan.

As the Akhal-Teke breed gains appreciation worldwide, international breeders have started taking an interest in these unique horses. Breeding farms in the United States and Europe contribute to the preservation and promotion of this restless breed. Collaborative efforts between national and international breeders, registries, and associations are essential to ensure the continued survival and growth of the Akhal-Teke horse.

Akhal-Teke in History and Culture

Magnificent black akhal teke stallion jumping

The Akhal-Teke horse breed has a rich history and cultural significance, dating back over 3,000 years. These horses, native to Turkmenistan, are known for their speed, endurance, and intelligence, as well as their distinctive metallic sheen, earning them the nickname “Golden Horses” source.

Famous Akhal-Teke Horses and Stories

There are numerous stories of famous Akhal-Teke horses, one of which is the legendary horse Bucephalus. Bucephalus was the beloved companion of Alexander the Great and is widely believed to have been an Akhal-Teke horse. Their bond was a testament to the loyalty and close partnership between the breed and their human counterparts. Another notable Akhal-Teke was the stallion named Absent, who played a vital role in winning gold for the Soviet Union in the 1960 Rome Olympics in dressage source.

Significance and Status Symbol

The Akhal-Teke breed holds great significance in Turkmenistan’s history and culture. They have long been considered a symbol of wealth, power, and status, revered for their unmatched endurance and ability to withstand harsh climatic conditions source.

Historically, Akhal-Tekes were often given as diplomatic gifts to establish alliances or signify goodwill. The horses’ high value made them sought-after prizes for theft and raids, so accompanying Akhal-Teke horses were usually loyal and fierce guard dogs to protect the precious animals from harm.

In modern times, Akhal-Teke horses continue to be highly valued and are used in various equestrian disciplines, such as dressage, eventing, show jumping, and cross country source.

As a result of their exceptional qualities and historical prominence, Akhal-Teke horses are often considered an expensive and exclusive breed. Their scarcity and beauty contribute to their high price tags, making them a luxury item for horse enthusiasts and collectors.

The Akhal-Teke’s presence in history and culture showcases their significance as a breed and their unique traits that make them “Golden Horses.” With their rich stories and the status they symbolize, the Akhal-Teke continues to be a highly revered breed in the world of equine excellence.

Health and Lifespan

Two black akhal teke horses facing each other

The Akhal-Teke horse is known for its intelligence and hardy nature, making it a sought-after breed for many horse enthusiasts. It is important to understand the specific dietary and health needs of these horses to ensure that they live long, healthy lives.

As a breed, Akhal-Teke horses have thin skin, which can make them more sensitive to environmental conditions and potential skin irritations. Owners should take care to choose appropriate bedding and consider avoiding certain insect deterrents that might cause skin reactions. Maintaining a clean environment and grooming regularly can also help keep their skin in good condition.

The feed for Akhal-Teke horses should consist of high-quality forages, such as hay and grass, and may be supplemented with grains if necessary. These horses are typically efficient eaters, so it is crucial to avoid overfeeding them to prevent obesity and potential health problems.

  • High-quality forages: hay and grass
  • Supplement: consider grains if necessary
  • Overfeeding: can lead to obesity and health issues

In addition to their diet, the health and lifespan of Akhal-Teke horses can be influenced by factors such as exercise, hoof care, and overall management. Regular exercise helps maintain not only their physical health but also their intelligent brains. Proper hoof care is essential, requiring trimming and care by a farrier every six to eight weeks. This helps maintain the strength and health of their small, strong hooves.

The lifespan of an Akhal-Teke horse can vary, with some living well into their twenties or even thirties. Focusing on proper nutrition, exercise, and health management can help ensure these horses live long, fulfilling lives. The combination of their intelligent minds and hardy disposition makes them exceptional athletes and all-around great horses to have in one’s stable.

In summary, the health and lifespan of Akhal-Teke horses can be maximized by providing the right diet, maintaining proper hoof care, keeping a clean environment, and ensuring regular exercise. These intelligent and hardy horses are truly remarkable, and with proper care, they can be enjoyed for many years to come.

Related Breeds and Influence

The Akhal-Teke horse is a unique and fascinating breed known for its speed, endurance, and adaptability. With its origin in Turkmenistan, this breed has a strong connection to the Arabian horse due to sharing some common ancestors. The Arabian horse has had a significant influence on the Akhal-Teke, contributing to its development and characteristics. Both breeds are admired for their distinctive features and remarkable abilities.

The Akhal-Teke is considered one of the oldest existing horse breeds, with a history that dates back thousands of years. These horses are well-adapted to harsh climates, particularly the extreme conditions of the Karakum desert. This adaptability has led to the development of their lean build and incredible endurance capabilities, which are partly responsible for their comparison to Greyhounds in terms of physique.

In addition to the Arabian, the Akhal-Teke’s influence can also be seen in the development of the Thoroughbred horse. Thoroughbreds, known for their speed and athleticism, have benefitted from the Akhal-Teke’s traits of endurance and fortitude. This breed of horse has greatly contributed to the equestrian world, particularly in the areas of racing and general performance.

The following are some key characteristics of the Akhal-Teke horse in relation to the mentioned breeds:

  • Adaptability: Akhal-Teke horses are amazingly adaptable to extreme environments. They can survive in the harshest of climates, making them a versatile breed.
  • Endurance: This breed is known for its incredible endurance and stamina. Similar to the Arabian horse, Akhal-Tekes can cover long distances without tiring.
  • Fortitude: The Akhal-Teke displays great fortitude, strength, and resilience. This is a trait shared by both Arabian and Thoroughbred horses in various facets.
  • Lean build: Their lean and slender build, reminiscent of Greyhounds, allows them to be swift and agile, a characteristic that benefits racing and performance horses like the Thoroughbred.

In conclusion, the Akhal-Teke is a remarkable breed of horse with myriad connections to other notable breeds such as the Arabian and the Thoroughbred. Their adaptability, endurance, fortitude, and lean build make them an influential breed in the world of horses, leaving a lasting impact on equestrian history and development.

What Do Akhal-Teke Horses Like to Eat

Proud cremello akhal teke stallion trots

Akhal-Teke horses, an ancient breed originating from the Karakum desert of Turkmenistan, have unique dietary preferences due to their harsh living conditions. They can tolerate sparse water and food, as well as extremes of heat and cold. Being desert animals, their diet tends to consist primarily of the resources available in their natural habitat.

Despite their slim build, Akhal-Teke horses require a well-balanced diet to maintain their strength and endurance. Their diet typically consists of:

  • Forage: The primary food source for Akhal-Teke horses is forage in the form of hay or pasture. Like many other horse breeds, these horses should be provided with high-quality forage, such as grasses and legumes, to meet their basic nutritional requirements.
  • Grains: Akhal-Teke horses can also benefit from grains, such as oats, barley, and corn, as a source of energy. However, grains should be fed in moderation, as excessive intake can lead to health issues like colic or founder.
  • Supplements: Depending on the individual horse’s nutritional needs, they may require additional supplements to ensure a balanced diet. These can include vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes, tailored to the specific needs of the horse.

It is crucial to consult with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist to develop the appropriate diet plan for an Akhal-Teke horse, taking into consideration factors such as work activity level, age, and overall health status. Providing them with the proper diet will help ensure their well-being and maintain their athletic abilities.

Feeding an Akhal-Teke horse according to its specific nutritional needs can be achieved through a combination of the following strategies:

  1. Monitor the horse’s weight and body condition regularly to ensure that it is maintaining a healthy body mass. Adjust the diet as needed based on these observations.
  2. Feed smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day, as this can help prevent digestive issues and ensure the horse gets the nutrients it needs. This will also help promote a healthy metabolism.
  3. Make any dietary changes gradually to give the horse’s digestive system time to adjust and prevent issues such as colic or upset stomach.


In conclusion, the Akhal-Teke horse’s diet is mainly composed of forage, grains, and supplements, which are essential for maintaining their overall health and athletic performance. It is vital to consult with professionals to establish a tailored diet plan for individual horses based on their specific needs. Providing these horses with a well-balanced diet will enable them to maintain their strength and endurance, ensuring they continue to thrive as one of the world’s most unique and treasured horse breeds.