Turkoman horse

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The Turkoman horse, or Turkmene, is an Oriental horse breed from the steppes of Central Asia. It influenced many modern horse breeds, including the Thoroughbred horse. Modern descendants include the Akhal-Teke,[1] the Iomud, the Goklan and Nokhorli.[2] The Turkmen is only bred in north-east Iran.[3] There are about 3000 animals. The population is at risk.[4]


The Turkoman horse has a slender body, a straight profile, long neck, and sloping shoulders. They have long and muscular legs. The horses range from 15–16 hands. The Turkoman is noted for its endurance and good resistance to diseases. They are used for racing.[3]

Turkmen influence on European horse breeds[edit]

The Turkoman horse have influenced the English Thoroughbred,[1] most probably via the Byerley Turk. Turkomans were brought to England by soldiers stationed in various parts of the East. The best known was a stallion named Merv, who was brought to England by Baker Pasha[who?] in the 19th century. A very high stud fee which was charged for Mervs services, £85, which at that time was considered exorbitant for any stallion. Unfortunately, other Englishmen did not esteem Merv the way Baker Pacha did. Sidney[who?] quotes a correspondent who had seen Merv and stated: "He looked to me about 16 hands high, fine shoulders, good head and neck, fine skin, good wearing legs, bad feet and leggy. I thought him unsuited to breed hunters ... he looked to me about an 11 stone horse, and did not like going through dirt." In this context, "11 stone" referenced rider weight, thus such a horse would be one expected to be able to carry about 150 pounds (68 kg). Merv covered no mares in England, and in 1877 he was sold to the Earl of Claremont's stud in Ireland.[citation needed]

Turkoman horses, aside from being occasional gifts of state, were often brought into Western Europe by various individuals, mostly connected with the military in some way. Some of these horses have had a profound impact on various European warmblood breeds.

Gervase Markham, Master of Horse to James I of England, preferred the English Thoroughbred first among all breeds of horses; the Neapolitan second, and the steppe-bred Turk third. He had seen Turks racing on English race courses, circa 1566–1625. He also noted that the Turks he had seen were: "Naturally in they desire to amble, and, which is most strange, their trot is full of pride and gracefulness."[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Wallner, Barbara (10 July 2017). "Y Chromosome Uncovers the Recent Oriental Origin of Modern Stallions". Current Biology. 27 (13): 2029–2035. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2017.05.086. PMID 28669755.
  2. ^ Firouz, Louise (19 March 2012). "A Look at the Turkoman Horse in Iran". Museum of the Horse. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
  3. ^ a b Search for Iran, Horse and then select Turkmen, Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS), Food and Agriculture Organization
  4. ^ Turkemin Transboundary, Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS), Food and Agriculture Organization

Further reading[edit]

  • Heritage of Central Asia, from Antiquity to the Turkish Conquest, R. Frye
  • Illustrated Book of the Horse, S. Sidney, Wilshire Book Company, 1875
  • Authentic Arabian Horse and His Descendants, Lady Wentworth, 1945
  • Rewriting the Stud Book, Melanie Cabel-Allerstone, Country Life, January 1993
  • Illustrated Book of the Horse, S. Sidney, Wilshire Book Company, 1875
  • http://www.lrgaf.org/articles/foundation-turks.htm