Date: March 2000
Q: Is the Teke man-made or developed from natural selection?

A: I would like to say that the Akhal-Tekes like all other horse breeds are
man-made and must be so to continue to exist.
The originality of the tekes is the result of artificial selection,
inbreeding and isolation. And that is how the breed is maintained today.
The ancestry, the roots of the tekes and the guarantor for the isolation
and possibility to inbreed is the stud book. The selectors are the
breeders. The breeders that keep ancestry, type and performance in mind
when selecting the breeding couples are the guarantors of the breed's
survival.
II: Eloquently said, Jessica. The difference in breeding today versus many
years ago when various breeds evolved is that there is no longer
geographical isolation. There is always the pressure to look like other
breeds, to keep up with the trends, to outcross. An example of how
perfectly good breeds were destroyed and lost their identity was when the British empire expanded into the middle east and Asia in the 1800s, bringing with them their thoroughbreds and influencing the local horse populations, resulting in loss of very old native breeds. In other countries the ruling class emulated the British by importing thoroughbreds and forced the crossbreeding on native breeds. The geographical barriers are not there anymore, and so the breeders themselves must remain true to the breed's unique qualities that evolved over hundreds or thousands of years and provide the barriers by being vigilant and breeding to the breed's
standards. Such ancient breeds can be lost in less than 50 years or even 25, if breeders go for fashion and trends. They can never be replaced, as the years and native conditions for selection are no longer there.
Gwen Griffith - Dickson
 

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