Every April the Turkmen Horse Festival celebrates the Akhal-Teke horse. This animal is a source of national pride and enjoys a worldwide reputation for speed and exceptional endurance; it can cover up to 1,000 kilometers in under a week. Local and foreign horseprofessionals and aficionados meet at the festival for equine-beauty contests and races, exhibitions, literary and musical eventsand meetings of the International Association of Akhal-Teke Horse Breeding.
The Akhal-Teke is a symbol of Turkmen unity and identity, and appears in the center of the national emblem, surrounded by five traditional rugs representing the main tribes.For centuries, the Turkmen have paid special attention to the breeding of the sensitive, as the man, the unparalleled in beauty, faster than the wind and loyal to their owners, the Akhal-Teke horse. Many efforts have been made in this regard for breeding, which continues to a very high level today by Turkmen connoisseurs. There is also a large-scale systematic work on the development of equestrian sport.
As part of the events dedicated to the National Holiday of the Turkmen Horse, celebrated on the last Sunday of April, along the Kopetdag Avenue, which lies in the foothill valley near the southern limits of the capital, a traditional equestrian marathon was held. The route of the marathon consisted of two stages of 30 kilometers.
Before the start of the competition, folklore groups, pop singers and bakhshi performed. At the conclusion of the ceremonial part, the main judge from Austria, Markus McHubmann, launched the marathon.
About 30 Akhal-Teke horses took part in the competition. Among them are the nurslings of the Akhal-Teke equestrian complex of the President of Turkmenistan, the National Equestrian Center and velayat stables of the State Association "Turkmen Atlary", as well as the horses from the stables of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Defense of Turkmenistan and private horse breeders.
The competitions made it possible to see the excellent physical fitness and endurance of the Akhal-Teke, demonstrated the ability of the riders correctly to consider the physical capabilities of the horse over long distances, clearly demonstrated the achievements of domestic breeders and stablemen.
Awarding of the winners of the equestrian marathon on behalf of the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov will take place during the upcoming festivities on the occasion of the National Holiday of the Turkmen Horse.