COAT OF MANY, MANY COLORS!
Few breeds of horse can claim the diversity of coloration to be found in the Akhal-Teke.
Here is just a sample of the colors common to this breed:
Also called "Electric Black" or "Raven Black," dominant black is quite common in the Akhal-Teke. Combined with the famous Akhal-Teke Glow, these horses literally glitter with a blue or purple sheen. This color is so special that it has its own name,voronaya, in Russian. This is the color of five time Olympic medalist (2 gold, 2 silver, 1 Bronze) ABSENT, and is found in many of his descendants.
The picture on the left is of the stallion Helm, competing in dressage at Prix St. George.
Greys are common in Tekes. They are often beautifully dappled and many turn completely white. Note the hooded eye, particularly evident in this very sweet mare. She also has one blue eye, also fairly common in the breed (see below for more info about blue eyes).
The "sooty" factor, which gives a black tip to the hairs, produces many lovely variations in this color of Akhal-Teke.
The Akhal-Teke produces some spectacular bays, with coats which glitter with reds and golds.
There are also many variations of dark bay, as well as black bay. Often with beautiful dapples and gold or red highlights.
In Tekes, chestnuts tend to be more golden than red, but there are a fair share of lovely redheads.
While not as common in the Teke as it is in the Morgan, this color can still be found fairly often.
Called "Bulanaya" in Russian, this is the archetypical color of the Akhal-Teke horse. These horses are sometimes purely buckskin (without a spinal stripe) or dunskin (with a spinal stripe a few shades lighter than the mane and tail but darker than the coat and plainly visible). In this breed, because of the unique structure of the hairs, these horses may be quite dark in color and may even be confused with bay; however, when bred together, they can produce perlinos and cremellos. This stallion was the the first Akhal-Teke to reach the United States, photographed at three years of age at the Komsomol Hippodrome, Ashkabad, Turkmenistan.
Dark Golden Dun.
Along with Golden Bay, Golden Buckskin and Golden Dun... Dark Golden Dun (sometimes called Smokey Buckskin), is one of the archetypical Akhal-Teke colors. In the sunlight, the coat glitters with gold in a way that a camera simply cannot capture. This color (actually a form of olive grulla) is so dark that it is often mistaken for a non-red bay; but a stripe down the spine and zebra striping on the legs show that this is a dun.
In the Akhal-Teke, the dun and cream factors can combine in some striking ways. In this case, the result was a foal with a bicolored mane. The bicolor mane is not common; usually these horses have black manes and tails. This mare shows the extremely light version of this color.
The Akhal-Teke produces some truly amazing palominos, usually with plenty of "chrome!"
This color is often called "isabella" in much of the United States, although in Europe and in Russian "isabella" refers to cremello and perlino. This famous Akhal-Teke stallion is Kambar, published in most breed books.
Cremellos (or "isabellas" in Europe) and Perlinos are found quite commonly in the Akhal-Teke. The glow to the coat of these blue-eyed wonders is so strong that it is visible even in a darkened barn.
Perlino differs from Cremello in that there is some reddish or brownish color to the tail and often the hocks, knees and legs. As with the cremello, the eyes are blue.
This is a combination of grulla or dark golden dun and perlino, also called 'champagne'. In this color, the eyes may be blue, grey or hazel. This Russian stallion is a perfect example of the rare champagne color.
Akhal-Tekes typically have white markings and some sport a great of it.
Sabino pinto markings
are not at all uncommon, and rabicano
(or roan) is also seen. Older stud books list roan as an Akhal-Teke color, although this line seems to have died out. Akhal-Tekes are registered on the basis of parentage only. While some breeders prefer some colors over others, there are no "disallowed" colors or markings in the Akhal-Teke breed.
The Akhal-Teke typically has a marvelous metallic glow to his coat. This is caused by the structure of the hair; the opaque core is reduced in size and in some areas may be absent altogether. The transparent part of the hair (the medulla) takes up this space, and acts like a light-pipe, bending light through one side of the hair and refracting it out the other side, often with a golden cast.
Blue eyes are fairly common in the breed, and not only in the Cremes.
It is not unusual to have a chestnut, bay, black, or grey with one blue eye, often "marbled," where the eye is only partially blue. The effect is stunning!