after his arrival in Herefordshire
Atamekan on the 2001 Odyssey
The Incredible Journey
1999, Atamekan, a stallion of a
rare and ancient breed, arrived in Herefordshire in the
UK after a 4,000 mile journey - to save him from starvation
in his native Turkmenistan.
I formed a close bond with ex-racehorse Kaan when
I travelled with him in this remote part of Central Asia.
But he was more than just a travelling companion. For, having
ME, I have very
limited mobility. Quite simply, Kaan was my legs. Without
his help, I couldn’t have seen the country widely enough to
write the book for which I had gone there. I owed him a debt
of gratitude, and couldn’t simply leave him in a country where
horses frequently starve to death.
in Mari, Turkmenistan
Finding a way to bring him home has taken three years.
During that time he was badly ill-treated and nearly died
in Anau, Turkmenistan
The nine year old stallion is special in more ways than
one. For his breed, the little known Akhal-Teke, dates back
nearly three millennia - the warhorse of ancient history and
the incentive for establishing the Silk Road. Kaan joins an
elite group of only thirteen in the UK; one, a gift from Turkmenistan’s
president and a former “Elite” racehorse, belongs to John
Major, the former prime minister.
The Akhal-Teke is the most versatile of all sporting horses,
excelling in jumping, dressage, and, most of all, long-distance
riding. Kaan’s survival of three years’ vicissitudes bears
witness to the iron-hard toughness of these desert-bred horses.
Black Sands and
Celestial Horses - Travels over Turkestan by Gill Suttle.