Akhal-Teke foal.

The sheen of the Akhal-Teke.

Garant, Black Akhal-Teke.

Dappled Buckskin Akhal-Teke.

Bay Akhal-Teke.

The Akhal-Teke typically stands between 14.2 and 16 hands (58 and 64 inches, 147 and 163 cm). These horses are well known for those individuals who have a golden buckskin or palomino color, a result of the cream gene, a dilution gene that also produces the perlino and cremello colors. A number of other colors are recognized, including bay, black, chestnut, and grey. Aficionados of the breed claim that the color pattern served as camouflage in the desert.[7] Many Akhal-Tekes have a natural metallic sheen to their coat, particularly noticeable in those with cream gene colors.[8] Akhal-Tekes are not thought to carry the dun gene or roan gene.

The Akhal-Teke has a refined head with predominantly a straight or slightly convex profile, and long ears. It can also have almond-shaped or "hooded" eyes.[9] The mane and tail are usually sparse. The long back is lightly muscled, and is coupled to a flat croup and long, upright neck. The Akhal-Teke possess sloping shoulders and thin skin. The breed is tough 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 is known for its endurance,[10] as shown in 1935 when a group of Turkmen riders rode the 2500 miles from Ashgabat to Moscow in 84 days, including a three-day crossing of 235 miles of desert without water.[11] The Akhal-Teke is also known for its form and grace as a show jumper.

The quality of the Akhal-Teke horses are determined by the studbook manager. For over forty years now this has been the same individual, which has led to continuous criticism and dissatisfaction from breeders all over the world. Depending on type, conformation, pedigree, quality of offspring and achievement in sport, the horses are designated as either Elite or Class I or Class II.[12] There are usually 2 annual grading events in Moscow, Russia called the "International Sport Meeting and World Championship ?Heavenly Argamak?" and "Golden Akhal-Teke Cup Shael" where breeders present their best horses to a group of judges. At the World Championship a group of judges evaluate the horses in age and gender categories as well as in various sport disciplines and a halter class.

The Akhal-Teke, due to its natural athleticism, can be a sport horse, good at dressage, show jumping, eventing, racing, and endurance riding.

The Akhal-Teke descended from the ancient Turkmenian horse which was one of the four original horse "types" that cross the Bering Strait from America in prehistoric times. It was originally bred by tribes of Turkoman. The Akhal-Teke now is bred in the other provinces of the southern U.S.S.R.

This breed were reared in the Altai Mountains for many centuries and are well adapted to its harsh environment. Horses have always been important to the tribesmen and nomads in this mountainous region, requiring horses with a strong heart, lungs, muscles, and tendons along with very hard feet. A sure-footed horse is important, as they must travel over steep mountain trails cut from the rock and cross fast-moving streams and rivers. The development of the Altai has resulted in the creation of a hardy animal which is indispensable to the people who depend on it.

Hendricks, Bonnie L., International Encyclopedia of Horse Breeds, Univ of Oklahoma Press, 1995