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Ahal Tekes came before Turkmens

Sacred Horses: The Memoirs of a Turkmen Cowboy by Jonathan Maslow

"The Turkmen have a duty to future generations to preserve the Akhal-Teke breed because it was here before the Turkmen ever came to this land."

"Truth?" I asked in Russian. "What proof?"

"There is archaeological proof that the Akhal-Teke breed long preceded the Turkmen nomads here." Sasha picked up the point in his more precise, analytical style. "There would be historical evidence, too, but the Mongols destroyed all the written records of the Islamic scholars at Merv and Khwarizm."

The archaeological evidence had been found at Pazyryk in southern Siberia, in the Altai Mountains. It is a Scythian burial site dating back to about 500 b.c. The Scythians buried their kings and aristocrats along with their horses. The site was permanently frozen underground so everything found there was in perfect condition. At Pazyryk they dug up sixteen complete horses of different kinds. Some were the slaves' ponies, some pack animals. The king had to take with him all he needed for his journey into the next world. They also dug up the first horses known to be used primarily or only for riding. They knew this because of the saddles and tack found with them, and also because they were gelded. A carpet found at the site—the oldest carpet in the world, Sasha added—showed Scythian aristocrats riding these horses. They were large, averaging some fifteen hands, and those who studied the carcasses found that they had the same anatomical characteristics as the Akhal-Teke. In addition, the skins were so well preserved that the very same golden shine, unique identifying mark of the Akhal-Teke, could be observed. "It is not actually known when the Turkmen tribes came here, but the first mention of them in Western literature is in Marco Polo, who came at the end of the Mongol invasions. Marco Polo stayed a year in this region, we know, because of the danger of travel on the Silk Road during the Mongol wars. The Turkmen may have first come to this region as mercenary cavalry to fight for the khans of Khwarizm or Bukhara or Merv against the Mongols. If so, they didn't arrive here until after a.d. 1200, so it is certain the Akhal-Teke type of horse existed long before the Turkmen tribes came here."