Date: December 1999
Q: Excuse my ignorance, but I'd like to know more about this rating
system, how are the points given (and where does the system come
from, I assume not from Turkmenistan)?
A: The Turkmen did not grade the horses the way that the Russians introduced in the beginning of the 20th century.
The stallions where merited on purity, stamina and speed, and their beauty.
The Turkmen did select their breeding animals though, that is what makes the difference between them as horse breeders and the other Central Asian nomads that let their herd roam free and mate without any attempt to select the breeding pairs.
The Russians had known for at least 150 years in the beginning of the 20th century that it was the Teke Turkmen that bred the golden horses that had been famous for their beauty, speed, stamina and size for thousands of years. They also saw the decline of the ecomomy of the Tekes and their horses. The first expedition of Russians that went to Turkmenistan to invent the Yomud and the Akhal-Tekes new from records from the 18th century that the Teke horses where supposed to be taller and more developed than the horses they saw then.
The first Russian stud farm that was set up in Turkmenistan in 1897 was
managed by Mazan, his breeding goal was to "recover the Akhal-Teke original type in its full glory".
During his first year of work he could increase the hight of the withers of the yearlings from 133 cm to 142 cm by feeding them correct.
The Russian Teke enthusiasts also encouraged the Turkmen breeders to show their horses and gave them prizes for the best type and best developed horses.
The grading system that is used now, correct me if I'm wrong, is from the works on classical selective methods by some Russian scientist. The horses are graded on type, conformation, measurements, pedigree, performance and for the breeding animals, the quality of offspring. The scale used is from 1-10, where 10 is the best, I haven't figured out yet exactly how the how the scale (1-10 for the Tekes) is
actually used, but according to my experience the lower part of the scale is not, or very seldom used. For example, according to Dr Ryabova that grades all the Tekes outside Russia, a horse with points lower than 7 should not be used for breeding.