Domestic Breeders Troubled Over Import of Turkoman Horses

Domestic Breeders Troubled  Over Import of Turkoman Horses Domestic Breeders Troubled  Over Import of Turkoman Horses

The Turkoman horse, or Turkmene, is an oriental horse breed from the steppes of Central Asia, now thought to be extinct in its pure form. They influenced many other horse breeds, including the Thoroughbred horse.

However, relatively pure Turkoman horses do still exist, primarily in small pockets in Iran’s North Khorasan Province, the origin of Turkoman horse breeding.  The import now of this ancient breed from abroad has become a major issue for local breeders. There are several breeds or strains within the Turkoman area in northeastern Iran that includes the Akhal, the Yomud, the Goklan and Nokhorli. The Yomud and Goklan are found mainly in the mountainous regions of North Khorasan.

“Psychological concerns over the imported horse breeds outweigh their economic benefits,” said Ghasem Jafari, Majlis (Parliament) representative of Bojnourd, Raz and Jorgalan, Maneh and Samlaghan, Garmeh and Jajarm counties. “The domestic breeders who have spent much time in this field are likely to grow despondent over the future of their jobs.”

Given the high potential of the province in the field of Turkoman horse breeding, their import is not advisable, he added.    

Raz and Jorgalan border county has the purest, most original, most unspoiled breeds of Turkoman horses in the world, Mehr News Agency reported.


Turkoman horse is known across the world for its agility and outstanding features. At present, there are 3000 horses in North Khorasan Province and one-third of them are Thoroughbred; however, the horse breeders face several issues including lack of suitable horse racing track in the province, high maintenance costs, lack of domestic markets and a suitable program for the export of the horses, failure to provide liquidity to horse breeders and as a result sales of low-priced foals at an early age,  lack of Turkoman horse breeding research center and shortage of required funding to hold Turkoman Thoroughbred horse festivals in the country.

In the recent years the horse’s import has caused greater concern to the horse breeders. This is while the domestic breeders have the capacity to meet local demand.  

Ashur Yazdani, one of the horse breeders told Mehr News Agency that the import of foreign horses is contrary to the slogan of ‘supporting domestic sectors’.

Imprudent decisions on the imports may force breeders to produce hybrid horses to suit vested interests; “therefore we may not be able to conserve the purity of Turkoman horses,” he said.

 Great Potential

Further, Mohammadreza Movaffagh, general director of the provincial international economic affairs said the province is the origin of the Thoroughbred Turkoman horse across the world. North Khorasan has great potential for the horse breeding.

“According to Iran Customs office, this year several hundreds of foreign horses have entered the country,” he pointed out.

At present, the equine sector is profitable all over the world and in this regard horse breeding if promoted in North Khorasan and especially in Raz and Jorgalan counties, could be considered as a major income generating industry for the families living in these areas.

Movaffagh also pointed to the formation of a  provincial working group which is trying to fix the problems and obstacles in the field of Turkoman horse breeding. “As a measure taken by the working group to reduce problems we can point to the formation of horse settlements in Raz, Jorgalan counties and also Bojnourd, the capital city of North Khorasan, with cooperation of the private sector.”


The Turkoman horse is noted for its endurance. It has a slender body, similar to a greyhound. Although refined in appearance, the breed is actually one of the toughest in the world. The horse has a straight profile, long neck, and sloping shoulders with long and muscular legs.

The coat of a Turkoman horse may be of any color, and usually possesses a metallic glow. This was due to a change in the structure of the hair over the decades. Many theories explain why the mane of Turkoman and its descendants shines, but none explain why Turkoman horses in particular benefitted from this genetic difference from that of other horses.