The Akhal-Teke, also called the Turkmen has been bred in the deserts of Turkmenistan, which is north of Iran and east of the Caspian Sea, for nearly 3,000 years. Being bred and raised in extreme desert conditions, these horses are able to handle the heat of the day and chill of the desert night. The Turkmenistan desert of Kara Kum is where the breed first appeared. Kara Kum in a rocky and flat desert surrounded by mountains. They have little outside horse influence in the breed because of their isolated homeland. It is thought that the Turkmen people introduced some outside blood such as Arabian and Persian, at one point. A very similar horse is the Turkoman, which was breed in Iran. It is thought that the two breeds, Akhal-Teke and Turkoman, are two different strains of the same breed. The name Akhal-Teke was developed by a Russian general that founded a breeding farm. He named them after the Teke Turkmen tribe that lived near the Akhal oasis. In 1941 the first studbook was printed by the Russians and included 287 stallions and 468 mares.
The Akhal-Teke has been used to develop new breeds because of their genetic prepotency. One of the most recent breeds is the Nez Perce Horse, a cross between the Appaloosa and Akhal-Teke. Since the Akhal-Teke is not very diverse in its blood lines and has been kept pure to its breed, they are at risk for several genetic diseases. Horses may have been subjected to inbreeding back in their home lands.
The Akhal-Teke has natural athleticism allowing it to be used as a sport horse and for dressage, show jumping, eventing, racing, and endurance riding.