The Akhal-Teke is a closed breed: to be considered a purebred, a horse has to be parentage-tested and confirmed to be the off-spring of registered parents. The studbook also has a partbred section for horses of mixed parentage.
The breed is managed globally by the All-Russia Institute of Horse Breeding (Всероссийский Научно-Исследовательский Институт Коневодства, aka ВНИИК/VNIIK).
There are controversies surrounding the right of VNIIK, a Russian governmental body, to manage the global studbook of a breed which originates from the Central Asian Republic of Turkmenistan. Akhal-Teke UK takes the view that at present VNIIK system of registration is the only viable one but we follow and take part in the debate and respect the views of those who choose to follow their own path.
Primary registration is normally done in the foal's year of birth but the same rules also apply to older unregistered horses.
The VNIIK registration is similar to that of most other breeds:
- Blood or hair is collected by a veterinarian who also completes the description of markings and draws a silhouette;
- Horse is micro-chipped;
- DNA material is sent for testing to an ISAG-approved laboratory;
- Application form is sent to VNIIK, together with the DNA profile and/or blood-type results and photographs;
- VNIIK confirms parentage, issues Primary Registration number and inscribes the horse into VNIIK database.
Akhal-Teke UK works under a contract with Weatherbys in Ireland who do all
For the horses of three years and older who have themselves been used in breeding, secondary registration applies. The owners of mares and stallions with off-spring can apply to have their breeding animals registered in the published volumes of the General Akhal-Teke Studbook. VNIIK aims to publish the Studbook every two years though in practice the intervals between the volumes are longer.
Akhal-Teke UK will assist the owner of a breeding stallion or mare with completion of the relevant application forms in which the breeding history of the animal must be recorded. Secondary Registration incurs separate charges from VNIIK.
The Akhal-Teke horses residing within the European Union can now receive an EU-compliant passport issued by VNIIK. This means that Primary Registration and Passport issuance have become a single process, reducing administrative hassle and expense, and giving credibility to European Akhal-Teke horses at competitions and events.
Akhal-Teke UK has worked closely with VNIIK, to develop the acceptable format which complies with the EU regulation. The Akhal-Teke Passport issued by VNIIK has been confirmed by DEFRA in the UK, and by authorities in other European countries, to be fully compliant with the EU regulations. It acts both as a travel document and as a proof of pedigree.
Akhal-Teke UK is grateful to the Caspian Horse Society for providing the template and for their advice.
Passports and Breed Recognition in the UK
Akhal-Teke UK originally intended to obtain the status of PIO (Passport Issuing Organisation) in the UK, by applying to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for UK Breed Recognition for Akhal-Teke horses. Under the EU rules, breeds originating and having their studbook outside the EU, are represented in their European country of residence by an organisation which works in accordance with the rules of the "Mother" studbook.
In 2009 we submitted a detailed application to DEFRA in which we demonstrated amply our compliance with the European Legislation on Breed Recognition, however, the application was rejected on the grounds that we do not have a sufficient number of animals in the UK. We went to appeal at the time when the whole Equine Identification system in the UK was under review and existing PIOs were threatened to be replaced with a single Passport Authority. We decided to withdraw our appeal and started to work with VNIIK on getting the Russian Studbook authorities to issue EU-compliant passports. To our great delight, our efforts paid off and our Akhal-Teke owners can reap the benefits of having a single authentic document, issued by the Studbook authorities, which acts both as a proof of pedigree and as a valid EU travel document.