Государственная Племенная Книга (ГПК)
The General Studbook
Historically, the Turcoman horse breeding was part of a tribal oral tradition and no recorded pedigrees existed. Mare owners travelled for hundreds of miles to breed their mares to famed stallions whose pedigrees were well known within the nomadic communities. By the end of the 19th century, the traditional use of the Turcoman horse in alamans - the raids on the Silk Road - had ceased, horse breeding became uneconomical and the breed population dwindled.
During the early 1900s the officers of the Russian Imperial administration became aware of the scarce genetic pool still remaining amongst the horses owned by the Teke tribe in the Akhal oasis, between the Kopetdag mountains and the Karakum desert. By questioning the tribal elders, they were able to record the pedigrees of the surviving stallions and petitioned the Russian Central Government for funding to create the first studfarm dedicated to the preservation of the ancient Turcoman horse.
The first two Volumes of the Studbook, now lost, were compiled by hand by General Kuropatkin in the early 1900s. He also founded “Zakaspiiskaia Koniushnia”, the first studfarm dedicated to the preservation of the Turcoman horses.
After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Turkmenistan became one of the fifteen Soviet Socialist Republics in the new USSR where its horse breeding tradition was regarded as a potential contribution to the Soviet economy. A string of debates on the respective merits of purebred Akhal-Teke versus crossbreds led to the staging of one of the best known events in the breed’s history – the 1935 Ashkhabad to Moscow ride. Covering the distance of over 4,000 km and completed in 84 days it was won by purebreds and used as a proof of the superior qualities of the Akhal-Teke to meet the needs of the Soviet Cavalry.
Volume III was published in 1941, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, by M.I. Belonogov, who was also one of the first experts to describe the characteristics of the breed.
Volume IV was published in 1952, in Moscow. Following the mechanization of the military and agricultural industries, the breed once again was neglected and even, shockingly, subject to an absurd policy during the Khruschev era which, at the time when the breed was still endangered, saw hundreds of horses sent to slaughter to boost the country’s meat production!
In 1974, Tatiana Nikolaevna Riabova was appointed Chief Registrar of the General Akhal-Teke Studbook and Volume V was published in 1975 in Moscow with her participation;
By then, selective horse breeding fell within the regulatory framework of the Soviet Ministry of Agriculture under whose governance the All-Soviet Institute of Horse Breeding (aka VNIIK) was tasked with the development of different breeds within the USSR.
Volume VI was published in 1981 by the Akhal-Teke Department at VNIIK and included stallions and mares from Volumes III, IV and V;
Volumes VII – X have followed the established format which requires all horses with offspring to be listed in the studbook, detailing their date and place of birth, measurements, evaluation grades, breeding statistics and performance records.