Khiva-Bukhara By Horse

by Nathan Hamm on 10/4/2004 · 1 comment

Okay, I saw that Laurence beat me to it, but for those who are into horses, check out the extended entry to this post.

As far as the route, I have no clue where Suzander is, but this map (PDF) shows Gazli, so you get the idea.

The horses being used are Iomud, Akhal-Teke, and Karabair.


The Karabair is one of the most ancient breeds of Central Asia. Developed in Uzbekistan and northern Tajikistan the breed was established under the influence of southern and steppe breeds. It is well adapted to used under saddle and in harness. It has the typical build of a saddle and harness horse.

In appearance the Karabair resembles the Arabian, Persian, and Turkmenian as well as the steppe breeds. It has a medium-sized clean-cut head with a straight or ram profile, wide jaw, medium-long poll and high set medium-long neck. Some Karabairs may have a shorter heavily muscled neck. It has medium-long, wide and well-muscled loin; regularly sloping and sometimes dropping croup; medium-long shoulders insufficiently sloping; chest well developed in length and width, forequarters more developed than the hindquarters; clean, strong legs with well-defined tendons; correctly-set legs. As a result of insufficient feeding the knee-joints are occasionally underdeveloped and hindlegs may be cow-hocked. The color is bay, chestnut, grey or black.

This page of buzkashi photos has a good picture of a Karabair.

Iomud (which, I presume, could also be Yomut):

The Iomud breed originates from ancient Turkmenian horses. It was developed by the Iomud tribe in the Tashauz oasis in southern Turkmenia. As the breed occupied the margin of the Turkmenian breed area, it was influenced by steppe breeds. During the 14th century, it was influenced by Arabian stallions. In contrast to the Akhal-Teke, the Iomud breed is kept in herds in the desert and semi-desert.

The Iomud conformation has the following features: large clean-cut head, sometimes Roman-nosed, medium-long neck; medium-high withers, solid back with small curve to the withers, nicely turned and regularly sloping croup, shallow chest; clean fine legs, often bowed; sparse mane and tail; delicate skin. Color is grey or chestnut, rarely golden chestnut or black

Here’s a little more on the history of the breed.

And finally, the highly prized Akhal-Teke.

The Akhal-Teke is a horse from Turkmen, in the southern region of the modern country of Turkmenistan. These horses have been renowned as cavalry mounts and racehorses for some 3,000 years. The Akhal-Teke has superb natural gaits, and is the outstanding sporting horse from this area. The Akhal-Teke is native to an arid, barren environment. During its history, it has established a reputation of great stamina and courage. A key to the Akhal-Teke’s stamina is its diet which is low in bulk but high in protein, and frequently includes butter and eggs mixed with barley. Today the Akhal-Teke is used in show jumping and dressage in addition to daily use under saddle.

The Akhal-Teke’s conformation can be favorably compared to the Persian Arab, another breed of ancient origin. Its head is similar to the Arab’s, being long and light with expressive eyes. It has relatively long ears and a long neck. It has a short silky mane, or none at all, and a short tail. This breed has a narrow chest, long back, and flat ribs. The legs are long and slender, clearly revealing the tendons. It averages 15-15.1 hands in height. It is often dun in color, although it can be bay and gray, with a pale golden coat preferred. The Akhal-Teke is among the most elegant of the world’s horses.

The Akhal-Teke Association of America has a gallery of Akhal-Tekes.

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This post was written by...

– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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{ 1 comment }

Mark October 5, 2004 at 11:44 pm

After reading Journey Of Man, it would be interesting to trace the spread of these breeds to Europe and Asia (and India) along with people.

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