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Kaan after his arrival in Herefordshire, July 1999

During 1999, Atamekan, a stallion of a rare and ancient breed, arrived in Herefordshire in the UK after a 4,000 mile journey - to save him from starvation in his native Turkmenistan.

I formed a close bond with ex-racehorse Kaan when I travelled with him in this remote part of Central Asia. But he was more than just a travelling companion. For, having ME, I have very limited mobility. Quite simply, Kaan was my legs. Without his help, I couldn’t have seen the country widely enough to write the book for which I had gone there. I owed him a debt of gratitude, and couldn’t simply leave him in a country where horses frequently starve to death.

Kaan in Mari, Turkmenistan during April 1996

Finding a way to bring him home has taken three years. During that time he was badly ill-treated and nearly died from malnutrition.

April 1998: Kaan in Anau, Turkmenistan

The nine year old stallion is special in more ways than one. For his breed, the little known Akhal-Teke, dates back nearly three millennia - the warhorse of ancient history and the incentive for establishing the Silk Road. Kaan joins an elite group of only thirteen in the UK; one, a gift from Turkmenistan’s president and a former “Elite” racehorse, belongs to the Rt. Hon. John Major MP.

The Akhal-Teke is the most versatile of all sporting horses, excelling in jumping, dressage, and, most of all, long-distance riding. Kaan’s survival of three years’ vicissitudes bears witness to the iron-hard toughness of these desert-bred horses.

He will now stand at stud and, I hope, go into training for competition.





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