The stallion in question pictures above
It is true they have been crossed with TB to gain speed on the race track.
But not every breeder in Turkmenistan has been crossing...and now we have scientific proof!
In December I had a breeder from Turkmenistan visit my farm, and with him he brought hair form his stallion.
He wanted to have it checked for purity of the breed.
Long story short, finally the results are in and they are fascinating!
I send the hair to Gus Cothran who still works with the University of Texas.
The process is this, they compare the DNA to those they have collected, and these are the horses it came most closely related too:
Here is Gus Cothran remarks:
Gus Cothran :
I couldn’t tell about the AT specifically unless it was one of the to 5 hits which it was not. However, the Turkmenistan horses were primarily crossed to Thoroughbred in Soviet times. This horse showed absolutely no evidence of Thoroughbred so I think it is quite pure and I think the results support that.
It is complicated but mainly is due to the fact that it is sometimes hard to compare one individual to a whole breed, even if it is the right breed. As well the data from the reference pool used may be somewhat different than that of the population this horse comes from. ATs from the US will be different from those of Turkmenistan and I think what was used was US data.
I have a large number of Turkoman sample but yes the ones in the reference panel for the ancestry testing came from Louise Firouz. Also I have about 50 from Turkmenistan and many others from Iran (most oft those are of questionable value as many are clearly mixed). I also got Akhal Teke samples from Louise Firouz but less than 20. Based upon blood typing they showed no evidence of Thoroughbred crosses unlike all others I’ve tested but I don’t seem to have DNA data from those. I can’t really do as thorough a search for that from home as needed. By the way, yes I would love more samples as you mentioned a couple of emails back.
In a nut shell, the Turkoman horses are those that fled to Iran when the Soviets took over.
Most Akhal-Teke horses in the USA come from Europe, in turn they came from Russia and some from Turkmenistan with some already crossed with TB under Soviet rule.
Tanya Rosen made the connection with the Turkmen breeder possible, she works preserving the snow leopard in all the "Stan" countries and together we will work getting Gus Cothran more samples for a better picture of genetics.
I met Louise Firouz in Turkmenistan 20 years ago, she was working with Dr.G us Cothran to establish the origins of the Turkoman horse, she discovered the Caspian horse in Iran and realized how unique it was and they made the link trough DNA testing the crossing of Akhal-Teke and Caspain made the Arab.