Alexander the Great's Favourite Horses to Get Turkmenistan Beauty Contest
President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, who enjoys sweeping powers in this desert nation of 5 million and is known for his deft horsemanship, said national beauty contests for the ancient Akhal Teke breed should be held every April.
The best horses of the breed, distinguished by shimmering coats, long delicate necks and legs and popularly revered as "the wings of the Turkmen", will be chosen "to promote the glory of the heavenly racehorse worldwide", the decree said.
Special awards will be given to craftsmen for the best carpet featuring the horse, the best "holiday attire" for the breed, the best portrait and even sculpture.
The Akhal Teke horse, given as a gift to several foreign leaders, is featured at the centre of Turkmenistan's national emblem and enjoys cult status in the only former Soviet state in Central Asia where eating horse meat is strictly taboo.