HOLIDAY OF WINGED DREAM
This spring, as in all previous years, Turkmenistan celebrated the National Day of Turkmen Horse. Tens of thousands of residents of the country and many foreign guests watched horse races, demonstration dressage and fancy riding.
Turkmenistan is the only country in the world whose national emblem is decorated with the silhouette of the Akhal-Teke horse. This detail speaks of the Turkmens’ traditional cult attitude to the horse. At the same time, the poetic image of a rider, who is confidently sitting in a saddle and habitually driving a strong and beautiful animal, fully corresponds to the current state of the Turkmen society that is witnessing an unprecedented rise in all areas of human activity.
The country that saddled the fabulous horse is about modern Turkmenistan, which is demonstrating the high rates of economic growth, building modern industrial complexes and white marble cities, harvesting record crops and gaining broad international recognition. The Turkmens have always regarded a horse as a visible embodiment of perfect beauty, strength and freedom and their dream of flying.
The Akhal-Teke horse enjoys special veneration as a national treasure of Turkmenistan. The country invests a lot to make it possible for people to have aesthetic pleasure from contemplating the perfect body of the Akhal-Teke horse. Large hippodromes and horse-breeding complexes are being built everywhere, best pasture lands are provided to herds, winners of horse races are awarded luxurious prizes. This is the price that the country with the high level of prosperity can afford for the historical right to be called the birthplace of the oldest breed of cultural horse breeding.
This year, Ashgabat hosted the 13th meeting of the International Association of Akhal-Teke Horse Breeding on the eve of the holiday. The forum discussed the development of Akhal-Teke horse breeding and opportunities to increase the number of purebred Akhal-Teke horses in Turkmenistan and foreign horse breeding centers specializing in breeding this breed of horses. It was noted that modern equestrian complexes and specialized scientific and educational centers are being built in Turkmenistan. This is evidenced by the establishment of the International Academy of Horse Breeding named after Aba Annayev and the Research and Production Center for Horse Breeding in the city of Arkadag.
The forum also reviewed issues relating to admission of new members to the International Akhal-Teke Horse Breeding Association and awarding state awards to members of the association who excelled in their work. There were read out the decrees signed by President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov on conferring the honorary title “Honored Horse Breeder of Turkmenistan” to Turkmen and foreign horse breeders – members of the International Association of Akhal-Teke Horse Breeding.
On the eve of the National Day of Turkmen Horse, President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov attended the opening ceremony of the equestrian complex of military and law enforcement agencies in the foothills of the Kopetdag, not far from Ashgabat.
The total area of the complex is 40 hectares. It is designed for 500 horses of the Akhal-Teke breed. The complex comprises a number of facilities, including an administrative building, stables for horses and foals, a veterinary clinic, technical facilities, a racetrack, stands for 100 seats and a parking lot. Viewing the new complex, the head of state noted that it fully meets the requirements of the time and has everything necessary, including for training and preparing horses for races.
President Serdar Berdimuhamedov watched the final round of the international contest “Most Beautiful Akhal-Teke Horse of the Year”. Based on the results of qualification rounds, 10 elite Akhal-Teke horses reached the finals. Following the rules of the contest, each horse was presented twice to the jury and spectators – without equipment in a festive horse harness.
After a lengthy discussion of qualities of each horse, the jury chose the gray Akhal-Teke horse named Goshasakar (double mark) from the Akhal-Teke Equestrian Complex of the President of Turkmenistan as the most beautiful horse of 2023. On behalf of the head of state, horse master Atchapar Badjamov was presented with the keys to the Toyota Fortuner SUV, a challenge cup and a diploma.
The names of the winners of the art contest for the best artistic image of the Akhal-Teke horse in works of fine and decorative art, printed products, photographs and videos were also announced. The winners of the art contest were awarded valuable gifts and diplomas.
The main events of the celebration on the last Sunday of April took place at the International Akhal-Teke Equestrian Complex near Ashgabat with participation of President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov. There were held festive races – the most prestigious competitions of the season. In total, there were held seven races at various distances, in which dozens of magnificent Akhal-Teke horses took part, demonstrating the best sports qualities.
The final, seventh race for the main prize of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov – the Akhan prize and a challenge cup – was the culmination of the racing event. Master jockey Begenchmyrat Agamyradov was the first to cover the distance of 1600 meters on stallion Novruz from the Akhal-Teke equestrian complex of the President of Turkmenistan.
At the awarding ceremony, the winners of the festive races were presented with valuable gifts, cash prizes and diplomas. The winners of jumping and marathon race competitions held earlier were also announced and awarded. Festive events marking the National Day of Turkmen Horse were held in all regions of Turkmenistan.
One can talk a lot about feelings and still not convey the full depth and power of passion. Yet, the selfless, nationwide love of Turkmens for horses has found its historical reflection not only in words. The fruits of centuries-old selection – Akhal-Teke horses, unsurpassed in strength, beauty and stature – have become a visible and material embodiment of passionate national affection. That is why it is no coincidence that the National Day of Turkmen Horse is considered one of the brightest and most memorable events of the calendar year. This year, it was held on a special scale, bringing together the majority of the country’s population at large and small hippodromes of the country.