Why Ahal-Tekes are so rare?
Sacred Horses: Memoirs of a Turkmen Cowboy [Jonathan Maslow]
... "The falconers start hunting in December," he explained. "A trained hawk costs twice the price of a good horse. The hawk hunts only with a dog. The dogs are called Turkmen Tazy. They are very fast and sleek, and like the Rhodesian ridgeback, they have no bark. The dogs flush and run the hares before the hawk is released by the falconer to attack. It's the same hare as in your southwestern deserts in Arizona and New Mexico."
At first Sopiev said they didn't use horses. I found that strange, but later on in the conversation it developed that horses had become so rare, hard to come by, and expensive that the Turkmen falconers had given up and now hunted on foot with their bird and dog.
"What happened to make horses so rare?" I asked him.
"Many of our Akhal-Teke horses were killed without thought, even slaughtered and eaten. It was a terrible calamity for the Turkmen—and for the world, which hardly knows about it. Someday the horse breeders of the West will want to go back to the original genetic material that produced the Thoroughbred to strengthen the blood lines, the way agronomists do with food crops. We believe the Akhal-Teke are, as our academician Bilonogov put it, the last drops of pure blood that brought forth all the racehorses of the world."
Sopiev was forthright and matter-of-fact, but I sat for a moment in doubting silence. Was it possible that the Akhal-Teke was the progenitor of the modern racehorse? I found this no easier to accept than the idea that the Turkmen horses had been slaughtered for food, especially given Dr. Shikhmurad's highly charged statement that a Turkmen would never kill his horse, no matter what, never eat the animal he so loved. It was my first indication that Turkmen horses had not remained outside the influences of the USSR's three quarters of a century of total politics.