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Not Just Another Pretty Face

Turkmenistan's ancient Akhal Teke breed
Turkmenistan's ancient Akhal Teke breed
Turkmenistan is set to host an international beauty contest for horses.

Specifically, judges will be looking to select the most beautiful horse of the Akhal-Teke breed.

The horse pageant is set for the last Sunday of April, fittingly known as the “Day of the Turkmen Horse” -- a national holiday.

Akhal-Teke horses from around the world have been invited to participate, according to

The pageant is not just about the horses. Organizers will also hold competitions among carpet weavers, jewelers, painters, and sculptors for the best works of art that depict the Akhal-Teke.

Prize money for the winners range between $1,000 and $3,000.

Turkmenistan takes a lot pride in its native Akhal-Teke horse, a breed known for its endurance and resistance in dry and desert climates.

Turkmens believe the Akhal-Teke breed has served emperors and warriors over the centuries, including Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan, and, of course, Turkmenistan's current leader, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.

The president, a keen rider, has already authored a book titled "Akhal-Teke Horses -- Our Pride and Glory." He is frequently pictured on horseback.

-- Farangis Najibullah