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bear by san

February 2017



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writing eternal sky rog

writing stories and taking pictures of anything but love...

I'm working on getting my head back into the Eternal Sky headspace (soon I will reread both Range of Ghosts and Shattered Pillars and update my little list of unanswered questions) and while I am waiting for dinner to finish cooking (sage lime chicken and beets and sweet potatoes and asparagus, oh my) I was poking around Flickr looking at photos of Akhal-Tekes, as is my wont.

The Qersnyk horses of the Eternal Sky are much more like the Akhal-Teke than the Mongol pony; a breed adapted to similar conditions, but with a very different, almost otherwordly appearance. (The artist for the amazing flyleaf map, by the way, read the book and figured that out for herself!) They're famous for their strangely lustrous coats, which look almost metallic in direct light.

I thought you might like some photo references.

This is Almaty, a liver bay mare with one white hoof. Sort of like you-know-who. She looks like she enjoys her sweets, as well... and like she might be in foal. Akhal-Tekes are usually very slender in build.

Lone Larch Akhal-Tekes - Almaty

Another of Almaty, where you can really see the mirror-luster of her coat.


This is the color we and the Qersnyk both call liver bay. Another mare I used as a visual model is Darginka who has an amazingly wonderful Roman nose.

Here's Pagoda, a mare with the same color scheme as Buldshak of the line of Temurbataar:

Pagoda (& Davinia behind her)

Buldshak's gone more silver, however, and is largely grey on her face.

Pagoda again:

Pagoda & Davinia

And this is Habib, a cremello colt whose appearance is the model for... well, that would be telling:

Akhal-Teke stallion Habib Shael

But isn't he amazing looking? Yes, his eyes are blue.

ETA: Here's another shot or two of Habib, where you can see the division in color between the cremello (a very pale gold) and the true white of his blaze and socks:

Habib Shael at 5 years

Habib by Nadja

(All images copyright Kerri-Jo Stewart (Argamak.ca) and used under Creative Commons.)


I got to talk briefly to an Akhal-Teke breeder here in the PDX area (well, okay, she's from Hood River so about 60 miles and another microclimate away). Cool horses in their thought processes as well as their looks. The kind of horse that you ask, not demand, to do something, and give them space to process and think. Kind of like Lipizzans, Arabs, or performance-bred (i.e., doing something besides pitty-patting on the rail at shows) horses from other breeds (the Mocha girl comes from cutting and reining bloodlines and she's one of that mental ilk).

One of these days I want to check out the Nimiipuu's Palouse horse breeding program. I'd like to see what the Appaloosa/Akhal-Teke cross is like, both physically and mentally. Could be one hell of a performance horse...or a real PITA to deal with (smart, athletic horses who don't want to work can be real challenges. Fortunately, most of the smart, athletic horses I've encountered really really like their riding jobs).