The Turkoman horse (or Turkmene) was an Oriental breed from Turkmenistan which is now extinct and is the ancestor of the Akhal-Teke and the Yamud horse breeds. The Turkoman horse was remarkable because of its endurance. The breed wouldn’t need to eat or drink a lot. They had a refined appearance, slender body and muscular legs. The horses ranged from 15-16 hh. The coat of a Turkoman horse could be of any color (black, bay, chestnut) but they would have a metallic sheen. Although some horses might shimmer more than others it was thought that the color pattern was used as a way to camouflage in the desert.

The myth of the blood sweat horse might find its origins in the sun shining over the metallic coat of the Turkmene so while the horse might have been chestnut color so under the sunlight people would be under the impression that the horse was red and thus was ‘sweating’ blood.

Horses bred in Turkmenistan would still be referred as Turkoman and have characteristics comparable as their ancestor (the Turkmene). The Arabian horse and Turkoman might have had a common ancestor (the oriental horse prototype). They had similarities (speed, stamina) but would differ to adapt to their environment. Today the Akhal-Teke is much longer than the Arabian. The reason might be that the Turkoman when riding long distances (4000 miles per day in the myth) was expected to trot whereas the Arabian was not.

How much the Arabian and Turkoman have been crossed is open to speculation but it was likely that there was some mating between these 2 types of Oriental horses. Turkoman stallions were kept in the elite palace of the Caliph of Baghdad and used for breeding purposes with Arabian mares. The Muniq’I strain of Arabian might have had its origins in these intermingling between these 2 types of breeds sometime during the 17th century.

The English thoroughbred might have been influenced by the Turkoman horse especially through the Byerly Turk. Some Englishmen have taken a few blood sweat horses to their country for breeding purposes. Although there was a debate of whether Turks were rather ‘Arabians of the highest class’ but were called Turks just because they had been brought back as prizes from war in Turkey and Crimea, there was evidence that they were actually Turkomans.

Turkmenistan was part of the Russian Empire so they were able to breed (to mate their own horses with the Akhal-Tekes).

Nowadays Akhal-Tekes are mostly used for Olympic dressage.

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