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Ashgabad-Moscow 1935 

The legendary ride from Ashgabad to Moscow, when the Akhalteke and Yomut horses covered 4,300 km in 84 days, began on 30 May 1935 in Ashgabad and ended on 22 August 1935 in Moscow.
The journey led from Ashgabad via Erbent, Kunya Urgench - Kungrad - Aktjubinsk - Orenburg - Kuybyshev - Penza - Ryazan and ended in Moscow on Red Square. A total of 28 Turkmen riders, 17 on Akhal-Teke and 11 on yomuts, made the journey. 

The horses covered a truly varied terrain - desert, semi-desert, mountains, steppe, forests. There were no professional riders or cavalrymen in the saddles, in most cases they were employees of the kolkhozes of the time. The youngest was 19-year-old Kurban Ovez Geldy, the oldest was 55-year-old Gabysh Mamyš, and the most experienced was Nepes Karachan, who had been a guide through the Kara Kum desert for more than twenty-five years. 

Interestingly, the purebred Akhal-Tekes and Yomuts were able to cope with the difficulty of the march much better than the partbred Tekes (Anglo-Tekes). The purebred Akhal Teke Arab (himself later successful in the sport, father of the Olympic champion Absent), Dorkush, Alsakar, Titanik and Al-Kush arrived at the finish in excellent condition, while the Anglo-Teke Dor-Depel and Burnok were significantly worse off. 
The fact that love is the most powerful force in the universe is evidenced by the story of two participants in the march, the grey stallion Ak Sakal and the mare Kyr Baital - even the hardships of the difficult journey did not prevent them from conceiving the colt 518 Moscow, later successful on the track and the only continuation of the Ak Sakal line. 

A summary of the participants from the ranks of Akhalteke horses (as I managed to find in studbooks and literature):

Purebred Akhal-Teke stallions:
26 Arab (Ag-Ishan-AT mare), grey, born 1930, later very successful in sport (he set the national record in the show jumping, 2.19m), founder of his own line, sire of Olympic dressage winner Absent
13 Ak Sakal (Ak Sakal-Iljas), grey, born 1930, founder of his own line
240 Titanik (244 Toporbai-Angin), chestnut, born 1930
19 Al-Kush (achalteke), chestnut, born 1930
89 Dorja (Ag-Ishan-Bek Khan), bay, born 1931
138 Keppan (Shifer-Kizyl Sabat), chestnut, born 1927 
Further purebred Akhalteke stallions Sakar Kishik, Dorkus, Alsakar, Kir Burnak, At Chadar, Kir Deli

Purebred Akhal Teke mares:

Moskva (Bek Nazar Dor-Nijaz Muchomed), bay, born 1929
279 Kyr Bajtal (Ag Ishan-achalteke), grey, born 1929


015 Dor-Depel (A1/1 Blondelli-35 Anna Durdy), bay, born 1929
012 Burnok (A1/1 L´Ermitage-mother of Bek Nazar Dor), bay, born 1930
041 Serdar (A1/1 L´Ermitage-35 Anna Durdy), grey, born 1930

From diary:
June 2: On the road to Erbent. Today we have covered only 18 km. Inspection of the horses showed that they are adjusting well to the marching regime. Next we plan to ride 60km, in the waterless part up to 120km per day.
June 4: On the road to Darvaza. We set off early in the morning. It is very hot, 60 degrees. There is not enough feed for the horses. The water is of very poor quality. We tried to draw from the buried wells (remnants of the civil war), some of which were covered with the bodies of dead animals. The horses refuse to drink this water.
June 7: We set off early in the morning, covering a total of 40 km. The heat does not let the horses or us rest. We have no fresh water, hopefully we will reach a settlement as soon as possible. There was a sandstorm, it was hard to see, hard to breathe. We got off the horses and led them, the horses refused to go through the deep packed sand.

June 8: today we arrived in Darvaza. The locals gave us a very nice welcome. The water here, however, is bad, sulphur is quarried and the water has a salty taste. The horses refuse to drink it. There's nothing to do but pour it through their nostrils. It's terrible to see the horses suffer like this, but we had no choice.

June 29th: the march now went on for practically five days without rest, the daily distances covered were around 100 km. It was undoubtedly a risk to the horses, but they completely surprised us with how quickly they were able to recover. Everyone made it through this demanding stage safely, the only health problem was noted in Kir Burnak, who caught a slight cold.
July 6: we are three days away from Aktubinsk. We should be doing better now, although it will be harder for the horses to acclimatise to the humid climate and heavy rain.  But from now on there is no danger of water shortage.
July 20: today we arrived in Buzuluk. Heavy rain has started, the horses are soaked to the bone. There are no stables in town, so there is no choice but to leave the horses in the rain.
8 August: two horses have developed a temperature, related to colic. The horses have trouble changing their feed. We decided to give them a rest today. The vet did not sleep a wink all night and kept an eye on the health of both horses.
August 17: We woke up early in the morning, examined the horses - they are all in excellent condition. Moscow is a stone's throw away. Only 180 km to go.
August 22: Early in the morning we set off in the direction of Ljuberec. Here we were greeted by a squadron of cavalrymen and five hundred cyclists with flags and banners. We were also escorted to Moscow by a military squadron. A short rally was held on the outskirts of Moscow and then we proceeded to Red Square where we laid flowers at the walls of the Kremlin. All the streets of Moscow are decorated with posters and leaflets in Russian and Turkmen, as well as greenery and flowers. The whole city welcomed us, everyone wanted to see our horses.

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