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.
back to top