I recently received an email with many beautiful pictures to admire but the one that caught my eye was the one about this horse that had been announced the most beautiful horse in the world:
The Akhal-Teke (ahal'teke) is a horse breed from Turkmenistan, where they are a national emblem. They are noted for their speed and endurance on long marches These "golden-horses" are adapted to severe climatic conditions and are thought to be one of the oldest surviving horse breeds There are currently about 3,500 Akhal-Tekes in the world, mostly in Turkmenistan and Russia, although they are also found throughout Europe, Australia and North America.
There are several theories regarding the original ancestry of the Akhal-Teke, some dating back thousands of years. The tribes of Turkmenistan selectively bred the horse, recording their pedigrees orally and using them for raiding The breed was used in the losing fight against the Russian Empire, and was subsumed into the Empire along with its country. The Russians printed the first stud book for the breed in 1941, including over 700 horses. Since then, the Akhal-Teke has influenced many other breeds, including several Russian breeds. There has also been some crossbreeding with the Thoroughbred to create a fast, long-distance racehorse, but the resulting horses did not have the endurance of the purebred Akhal-Teke. The studbook was closed in 1975.
The Akhal-Teke has a fine head with a straight or slightly convex profile and long ears. It also has almond-shaped eye. (In this picture the eye appears to be blue...could this be the case I wonder?) The mane and tail are usually sparse. It has sloping shoulders and a thin skin, and they have strong, tough, but fine limbs. They have a rather slim body and ribcage (like an equine version of the greyhound), with a deep chest. They are lively and alert, with a reputation for bonding to only one person.
The breed is touch and resilient, having adapted to the harshness of Turkmenistan lands, where horses must live without much food or water. This has also made the horses good for sport. The breed has great endurance, as shown in 1935 when a group of Turkmen riders rode the 2,500 miles from Ashgabat to Moscow in 84 days, including a three-day crossing of 235 miles of desert without water. This horse is also known for its form and grace as a show jumper.
Should you be interested enough to learn about its size, ancestry etc, you will find it all on Wikepedia.