The magazine is registered by the Federal Service for Supervision of Compliance with Legislation Governing Mass Communications and Protection of Cultural Heritage, certificate of registration ÏÈ ¹ ÔÑ77-21265 of 08.06.2005  
2022  N3-4(204-205)
Turkmenistan celebrated the Day of Turkmen Horse, a unique national holiday that was established at the dawn of the country’s independence in 1992.
Over time, celebrations of the Akhal-Teke horse – the famous breed of Turkmen horses – become more colorful, spectacular and acquire its own traditions. However, the attitude towards the “root-cause” of these celebrations as a national treasure that requires special attention, preservation and enhancement, scientific study and popularization remains unchanged. That is why the traditional components of the celebrations include scientific, practical, sports and cultural events.
The content richness of events dedicated to the world-famous Akhal-Teke horses is so diverse that the celebration is never limited to one day. As a rule, it lasts for a whole week. This year was no exception.
Long before the day of the national holiday, numerous scientific and practical conferences were held all over the country, discussing the topical issues relating to horse breeding, horse racing among young and older riders, as well as various equestrian competitions.
Along with sports competitions, the festive program included exhibitions and art contests on the best art image of the beauty of horses in fine and decorative art, musical performances, stage performances and other cultural events that contribute to the promotion of the world fame of the Akhal-Teke horses, preservation and enrichment of the original traditions of the national school of horse breeding.
Inclusion of a horse marathon in the program of events became a distinctive feature of the celebrations in recent years. It is designed to demonstrate not only the speed but also endurance of the Akhal-Teke horses. A truly spectacular horse marathon race took place in Ak Bugday district of Akhal province. 20 riders on beautiful horses participated in the marathon. The route of the marathon was split in two stages, 30 kilometers each, passing through rough terrain in the picturesque foothills of the Kopetdag mountains.
Show jumping has become one of the most popular equestrian sports in the country. 15 riders took part in this year’s sports event organized by the State Association “Turkmen Atlary” (Turkmen horses) and the Equestrian Federation of Turkmenistan. The tournament was held by the rules of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).
A meeting of the International Akhal-Teke Horse Breeding Association is a landmark annual event dedicated to the topical issues of hippology, international cooperation in the field of breed conservation and breeding of purebred Akhal-Teke horses, training of high-class horses for equestrian competitions. This reputable organization was established in 2010 with headquarters in Ashgabat, bringing together horse breeders, hippologists, representatives of the Akhal-Teke horse breeding association, legal entities, private horse breeders and other connoisseurs of the legendary “paradise” horses from different parts of the world, contributing to the multiplication the world fame of the Akhal-Teke horses as an invaluable asset and pride of the Turkmen people.
The 12th meeting of the International Association of Akhal-Teke Horse Breeding was held on April 20 at Oguzkent hotel in Ashgabat under the chairmanship of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov. Foreign members of this international body from more than thirty countries also took part in the forum online. The forum participants also included heads of relevant government agencies, horse breeders, representatives of the national mass media and foreign reporters accredited in the country.
The meeting discussed the further development of the Akhal-Teke horse breeding and equestrian sport at the international level, as well as tasks facing the organization nowadays. The meeting resulted in the adoption of relevant decisions. An exhibition was timed to coincide with the meeting of the association, displaying the works of fine, decorative-applied, carpet and jewelry art, as well as photographs dedicated to the Akhal-Teke horses.
In his speech at the 12th meeting of the International Akhal-Teke Horse Breeding Association, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov named the main tasks facing the organization to further streamline its activities.
The meeting touched on the issues relating to training of specialists in various areas of horse breeding and equestrian sports. In this regard, it is worth noting that this work is currently being carried out at higher and secondary vocational educational institutions of Turkmenistan. At the same time, construction of the International Higher School of Horse Breeding and the Research and Production Center nears completion in the new administrative center of Akhal province.
According to the established tradition, the head of state visited the Akhal-Teke Equestrian Complex of the President of Turkmenistan on the eve of the celebrations to participate in summing up the results of the annual competition for the title of the most beautiful Akhal-Teke horse and thematic contest among representatives of art professions.
The international beauty contest of Akhal-Teke horses is held in the country since 2011. It aims to promote the horse breeding traditions, drawing the world community’s attention to this breed as an integral part of the richest cultural heritage of the Turkmen people.
This time, ten elite horses of the Akhal-Teke breed from Ashgabat and five regions of the country selected at the qualification stages were taken to the observation point so that the jury could objectively assess the beauty, stature and grace of the horses participating in the beauty contest. All horses were presented to the jury and the public by their name, age, pedigree data and owner.
According to the professional jury, the magnificent light-colored horse named Melebash from the Akhal-Teke Equestrian Complex of the President of Turkmenistan was recognized as the most beautiful Akhal-Teke horse of 2022. Melebash was born in 2015. He is a descendant of Gerden and Yelgamak and belongs to the line of the famous horse named Gyrsakar. His seyis (coach) Begli Juraev, who raised the winner of the international competition, was awarded the main prize on behalf of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov – a Lexus car, a challenge cup and a diploma.
Natural beauty, grace, intelligence, playfulness, fidelity, racing virtues of Akhal-Teke horses are part and parcel of the national cultural heritage. They have served as a source of inspiration for people of art and creative professions for many centuries. Heavenly argamaks were glorified in epics and poems. Legends and songs, proverbs and sayings were composed about them, and the pedigrees of famous representatives of the breed were carefully preserved. At the same time, various works of art not only glorified love for the horse and its unsurpassed qualities but also the talent of the people that bred such a perfect breed. This is the result of creativity, knowledge, patience and inexhaustible creative powers of many generations of Turkmens.
In this regard, it is natural that the main idea of the annual art contest is to show both the natural splendor of Akhal-Teke horses, their unique qualities and the huge role horses play in the life of the Turkmen people. The perfect grace, intelligence and talents of the Akhal-Teke horse inspired the artists to create a variety of images.
The professional jury assessed the competition works by contemporary artists, sculptors, carpet weavers, jewelers, photographers, publishers, designers, cameramen. The best works submitted to the competition were selected by nominations, such as the most beautiful carpet, the most beautiful piece of jewelry, the best painting and sculpture of a horse, as well as publishing products, photographs and TV stories.
It should be noted that an annual exhibition of paintings, graphics, ceramics, sculpture, carpet weaving and design works was set up in the gallery of the State Academy of Arts on the eve of the celebrations. All interested artists along with students and teachers of the academy participated in the exhibition, exhibiting about 400 works.
Beauty contests of horses and art works dedicated to them along with specialized international exhibitions and conferences contribute to the popularization of Akhal-Teke horses all over the world. This is especially relevant in connection with the proposal put forward by Turkmenistan to include the Akhal-Teke horse breeding art in the UNESCO registry of objects of the intangible cultural heritage of mankind.
A colorful national holiday celebrating the Turkmen horse accompanied by centuries-old ethnic traditions always attracts attention of foreign guests. This is not for the first time that President of the Republic of Tatarstan of the Russian Federation Rustam Minnikhanov visits the country on this day.
On April 24, the distinguished guest, together with President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov, visited the International Akhal-Teke Equestrian Complex in the foothills of the Kopetdag mountains, where the main festive events unfolded.
A large-scale Turkmen party was accompanied by invariable attributes. Representatives of the regions and Ashgabat erected white yurts on the territory of the complex, each of which recreated the way of life of an ancient Turkmen village with unchanged customs and rituals. Women weaved carpets, embroidered, made felt mats, national amulets, while bakhshi musicians sang songs glorifying the beauty of their native land.
Exhibitions of works of fine and decorative arts were set up nearby. This gallery included products of folk arts and crafts, such as original works of jewelry and needlework, carpet, textile, silk, felt, leather and wood products, national musical instruments, various souvenirs.
Popular singers and dance ensembles entertained the participants of the celebrations with musical compositions. The show by the well-known group of national equestrian games “Galkynysh”, winner of cups and prizes at various international festivals of circus art, was the most exciting performance. This group wins the audience with extraordinary acrobatic and gymnastic tricks on horses, horse riding and vaulting, demonstration of superior riding.
Horse racing was naturally the main event of the festive program, the most prestigious competition of the season. The competition lasting more than two hours was watched with great interest by crowds of people on stands, dozens of television and camera lenses. In total, there were held seven races at various distances, in which dozens of horses took part, demonstrating their best athletic qualities.
Song and musical performances were held between the races. Spectators enjoyed the melodies and songs of folk musicians-bakhshi and masters of art.
The famous Akhal-Teke breed is both a common and very personal story for Turkmens, which is connected with the philosophy of life of the people whose fate for centuries was inseparable from the nature of their native land. That is why the Day of Turkmen Horse was bright, colorful and filled with the energy of love and reverent attitude towards the national heritage, once again pulling the major cities and villages of the country in its swift whirlpool.


©Turkmenistan Analytic magazine, 2005