About The Book
This book is a mix of beautiful photographs and informative text. My Passion for Akhaltekes shows how devoted the author is to horses of the said breed. The book contains various articles about them.
This personal book shows the true beauty of the Akhalteke breed and how majestic they are. All the horses photographed in this book are bred by Tito Pontecorvo, and all of his writings are out of his personal experience in breeding horses.
The book is written in 2 languages – English and Russian.
Thousands of years ago, in the wild Asian steppes, the first wild horses were captured, tamed, and entered on a long journey through the ages of mutual interdependence, trust, and cooperation. They were the ancestors of Akhal Teke horses, and the first horsemen who entrusted their lives to these wild creatures, mounted their horse’s backs and begun a long journey through the ages, a journey that changed both the human cultures and horses’ abilities. It molded them both into a single unit ideally adapted to each other’s needs for the best survival in the harsh wild world. Today’s Akhal-Tekes are products of this long and wonderful adaptation.
Modern horsemen welcomed first full blood Akhal-Teke horses to the American continent only less than 40 years ago. In 1979, Phil and Margot Case imported from then Soviet Union one stallion and one mare to their Virginia farm. In the following years, foals were born, and more horses were imported, and slowly the numbers of horses and other breeders increased. But finding and buying Akhal-Tekes was hard, there just weren’t many for sale. As a matter of fact, with the total worldwide population being only a few thousand, finding just one or two for US import was a great success to celebrate. Then in 1997 Dr. Tito Pontecorvo left his homeland in Russia, came to the US, and brought with him from his Russian farm more than 70 full blood Akhal-Tekes. Soon he begun to breed, train, and compete them at his ranch in Texas and at various US events. At that time, American Association (ATAA) and the Akhal-Teke Horse Registry were founded, and soon the first American Studbook was published.
Dr. Tito Pontecorvo brought with him to America more than 30 years of unsurpassed professional experience with all aspects of Akhal-Tekes horse breeding, care, training, and competing. Over the years, hundreds of horses were born and raised on two continents by Tito Pontecorvo. Among them, many champions were born and trained at Pontecorvo stables in Russia and in Texas, and they competed and won medals and prizes in a variety of sports, from classical dressage and jumping to endurance and polo, in Europe, North and South America, and in Russia. Today, Dr. Pontecorvo is undisputedly recognized as one of the two or three top expert breeders and trainers of this ancient and aristocratic horse breed anywhere in the world.
Thus it is with great pleasure to have in our hands Dr. Tito Pontecorvo’s book, “My Passion for Akhaltekes.” Vivid descriptions of individual blood lines, supplemented by many photographs, illustrate diversity of the breed’s phenotype, which is so typical of any breed that is united primarily by it’s top performance and functionality, rather than by uniformity of it’s looks, since it evolved in a geographically distant, widely separated areas of the vast Asian continent. This common functionality is evident in our Akhal-Teke horses today, but it’s not always understood and appreciated by our “western” eyes when we instinctively desire to have only one “ideal standard” of conformation. Yet if we limit our breeding to any such one standard of perceived “perfection,” if we breed all horses to look alike, we would loose diversity, adaptability, and plasticity of performance, the chief superior trait where Akhal-Tekes excel. Top performance and versatility that may be illustrated by the stallions of Arab blood line, where some 80 years ago the blood line founder Arab excelled in 3,600 km endurance ride from Turkmenistan to Moscow, and right after that broke and held a record in jumping in Moscow, while his son Absent won medals in dressage at three different Olympic Games. That is true versatility of performance.
Dr. Pontecorvo in his book shares and transfers to the younger generations of horse breeders, riders, and horse lovers, more than three decades of his knowledge and practical working experiences with Akhal-Tekes, and his philosophy as a breeder and a trainer. In abundant photographs Dr. Pontecorvo presents to the readers prominent features typical in each of the ten Akhal-Teke bloodlines, using exclusively only pictures of 100 different akhalteke horses of his own breeding. He illustrates his ideas by visual examples and typical features of different horses, the pictures that represent most of the variety of the entire gene pool, of the various phenotypes within this fascinating horse breed. This book offers a great tool for the beginners as well as experienced breeders of Akhal-Teke horses.
“My Passion for Akhaltekes” fills the void that we have in the English language information and literature about the Akhal-Tekes. Thus Dr. Pontecorvo’s book is much welcome not just by the owners and lovers of Akhal-Teke horses, or lovers of horses in general, but also by all those people who love the beauty, strength, intelligence, and graceful elegance of all animals.
Milena J. Stoszek, Ph.D.
Animal Science – Biochemist/Geneticist
Owner of Akhal-Teke Ranch
REVIEW of the book MY PASSION FOR AKHALTEKES |
Tito Pontecorvo’s book, ” My Passion for Akhal-Tekes” is filled with photos that illustrate the many articles Tito has written over his many years of involvement with the breed. Tito has included professional and amateur photos of horses which showcase the breed’s sire lines, and all of the horses pictured are of Tito’s breeding. You can feel Tito’s passion for this magnificent breed in nearly every page of this book.
2935 W. County Road 82 E, Livermore, CO 80536
BOOK REVIEW OF “ MY PASSION FOE AKHALTEKES” WRITTEN BY TITO PONTECORVO |
About the Author
Tito Nils Pontecorvo was born in Canada and is a Russian and Canadian citizen. In 1969, he graduated from Moscow State University with a degree in oceanography. He worked for ten years as the chief of the Hawaiian Science Research in the Oceanographic expeditions.
In 1979, on the basis of scientific materials collected by him in the expeditions, he developed a PhD thesis from which the results are recognized as a classic scientific discovery.
From 1979 to present time, he continues breeding Akhalteke horses.
About The Photographers
I want to express my admiration for the infinite number of photographs of horses and deep gratitude to the people who filmed these pictures and give their consent to their use- U.Kuznetsova, O.Itina, J.Drake, K.-J.Stewart, B.Sellman, N.Tarasova, F.Floen, A.Luschnath Gebel, W.Lockhart, J.A.Krienke, C.Rawski, R.Dorsch, K.Ardiel, W.Askins, E.N.Chen-Walsh, M.Tudyk, V.Grishutina, P. Case, U. Ruppelt, S.-M. Thibault and S. Gontcharenko
The photos which do not have the information about the photographer are made by T.Pontecorvo.
From 1979 until now, I have bred Akhalteke horses along with many other breeds.
Akhalteke horses born in my farms in the United States and Russia were champions in breeding shows and winners in many highest ranking prestigious three-day event competitions in the United States, Russia, Canada, and Mexico.
I was repeatedly invited to judge the Akhalteke horses in the breeding shows in different countries. My articles were published in various journals and are about breeding and training the Akhalteke horses, using in training the shpringartens and others.
Briefly, here are some conclusions based on the results of my 36 years working with horses of the Akhalteke breed.
First of all, when I saw some Akhalteke horses for the first time, I was struck because of their original and unusual anatomy and bright style.
As I was increasing the number of Akhalteke horses in my herd, and was comparing them with the horses who belong to the other known in the world breeds, I came to the following conclusions:
- Akhalteke horses have a very strong frame and rarely get sick.
- Mares easily get pregnant – problems with that are rare.
- It is easy to break the young horses.
- The rumor that Ahaltekes are stubborn, can be aggressive, have bad health, are not strong enough and do not have the stamina to participate in classical equestrian sports, and similar statements do not correspond with the reality and give false information.
- Akhalteke horses are universal, unlike many other breeds of horses, and often the same individual horse can successfully participate in a variety of classic equestrian sports – the reason of the opportunity of their universal use in all kinds of classical equestrian sports, is because of the fact that most of them have all together elegant productive movements, jump perfectly, are very frisky and hardy.
- With the condition of the right way of training and taking into account the individual characteristics of each individual horse, the Akhalteke horses are trained much faster than other horses who belong to the traditional sportive breeds.
- Akhalteke horses are very good for participating in a 3 day event sport because they have great advantages in comparing with other breeds – which are endurance, elegant and productive movements, and they are good jumpers. As far as I know, no other breed of horses in the world does have all this positive peculiarities with the condition that they can exist all together in one horse.
- In addition, I must say about the amazing and aristocratic beauty of these horses what is correlated with some details of their type and anatomy which are: rare mane and tail, nearly no forelock, projecting bone above the eye covered with thin skin, long and narrow head, vertically going out neck and other.
These are my opinions which are not formed in a vacuum, but on the basis of my many years of practical experience with a large amount of Akhalteke horses. These results, due to the rather large number of horses, are statistically valid and therefore reliable.
For example, the opinion of their excellent ability for jumping is based on information received from training more than 200 young Akhalteke horses in the shpringarten.
I did not allow to cut the manes and forelocks of my Akhalteke horses because of the fact that most of these horses have a thin mane and do not have forelocks, which creates their original and uncommon look and differentiates them from horses of other breeds.
Better to not argue about tastes, but I, personally, like the unusual look of the Akhalteke horses which is connected with their rare manes and the absence of forelocks. By the way, in the Akhalteke breed shows the judges lower the score for the type if the horse has a thick mane and a long forelock.
I hope this book will be interesting and informative for many breeders from the International Akhalteke community, and that the photos of beautiful Akhalteke horses will bring joy to a lot of horse lovers.
All photos of horses in this book are taken of horses which were bred and born in my stud farms in the United States and Russia. Unfortunately, I do not have the photos of many other of my horses.
I never did cut the mane of my horses. If you will see few horses without their mane, it means that the photo was made in another stable after I sold this horse.