The Akhal-Teke Horse, Rightly Called the “World’s Most Beautiful Horse” Looks Like it’s Made from Gold

The Akhal-Teke Horse, Rightly Called the “World’s Most Beautiful Horse” Looks Like it’s Made from Gold

There are over 300 horse breeds in the world, while some people might be hard-pressed about whether or not there is a perfect breed, others will tell you that it doesn’t get better than the Akhal-Teke. Like something out of a storybook, the Akhal-Teke horses are simply breathtaking. 

The Akhal-Teke horses 

These “perfect” or “near-perfect” breed of horses are more than just a couple of pretty ‘manes’. They are also incredibly athletic and intelligent creatures. Their shiny coats might just be the icing on the cake. 

History of the Akhal-Tekes 

The Akhal-Teke horses are originally from Turkmenistan. Their origin has been dated as far back as 3,000 years ago because of the distinct Akhal-Teke fossils discovered frozen in a Southside Siberian burial site from the 6th century BC. [1]

These horses are the embodiment of majestic 

They stand tall and proud at about 163 cm and weigh about 1,000 pounds. They have a flat muscular structure with a long slender head and neck. They are often golden with a metallic sheen that gives them the semblance of real gold. However, other colors exist including black, chestnut and grey. They also have a “cream gene” which leads to horses that are palomino, cremello and perlino. These horses have a life expectancy of 20 years.

The metallic sheen is what gives this breed its uniqueness 

This characteristic sheen is a result of its hair — hair shaft, to be specific. The hair shafts are arranged to refract light. They are hollow, which means they come without the typical opaque center other horses’ hairs have. This gives it the ability to refract light and thus the semblance of shining. [2]

Akhal-Teke breed 

Other than being one of the oldest horse breeds in the world, the Akhal-Teke is also usually purebred. This is probably due to their history of being found in Kara Kum desert, a rocky desert in Turkmenistan. There aren’t a lot of other horses there for them to crossbreed with, and people couldn’t get to them as easily as others. 

There has been some crossbreeding between the Akhal-Teke and other horse breeds. This has led to the birth of horses with diluted features. However, some of these crossbreeds were not as strong as the pure breeds and would often die from the harsh conditions of Central Asia. [3]

While these horses are admired by the rest of the world, they are respected in Turkmenistan 

Turkmenistan, a central Asian country covered by the Kara Kum desert and bordered by the Caspian sea, has taken these horses as their national equine symbol. This is probably because they are originally from Turkmenistan.  

Akhal-Tekes are very popular in the country with photographs of them found in numerous places. From their coat of arms to postage stamps and even banknotes, the gleaming Akhal-Teke are no strangers to the Turkmen. The Turkmen often decorate these horses with special materials, draping, and precious jewels like gold and silver to highlight their beauty. [4]

They have more to offer than their characteristic glow

Originally, these horses were bred by the Turkmenistan tribesmen for their speed, stamina, and agility. This made them especially great for transportation and raids. These days, however, they are used for just about anything, from, dressage to joyriding, racing, and even just showing off. 

Their fierce loyalty to their owners also makes them all the more special. [5]

Asides from being incredibly rare, there are so few Akhal-Teke horses remaining in the world today

Just a little over 5,000. Several reasons could be responsible for this. The clear lack of management of the breed is one. Again, the ban on exports of the horses from the Soviet Union led to a lower number of them in other parts of the world. In the UK, there are only about 40 of them left. And even if they were to be bred with other horses, they wouldn’t be purebreds. [6]

All in all, if you have an interest in horses, then you should consider the Akhal-Teke. Surprisingly, there is so little information on these horses. Heck, several people have never even heard about them. 

However, they are evolving and getting in the news more. Despite being regarded as vulnerable, if just a few adjustments are made to the management and breeding programs, then these horses will be galloping their way into the future ,which is sure to be as bright as their coats.


  1. Discover the Exotic Akhal-Teke.” FEI. Admin. May 9, 2019.
  2. The Akhal-Teke is ‘Threatened’ on the Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List.” Wide Open Pets. Christy Caplan. December 2019.
  3. Akhal-Teke.” IMH. Editor. Accessed February 21, 2020.
  4. 9 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THE AKHAL-TEKE.” I Heart Horses. Admin. Accessed February 21, 2020.
  5. Akhal-Teke Horse: Breed Profile.The Spruce Pets. Katherine Blocksdorf. January 12, 2020.
  6. Akhal-Teke: the golden horse of the desert.Horse Talk. Editor. August 6, 2013.