Monday, May 05, 2008

Akhal Teke - Michele van Kasteren Interview - Full Interview

Michèle van Kasteren lives in Belgium. She and her husband Peter compete with their Akhal-Teke in endurance at international level and has been breeding their own horses for nearly 20 years now. Michèle is a devout advocate of the Akhal-Teke as the ultimate breed for endurance.

MM: What was the first Akhal-Teke you ever sat on?

MvK: The first I sat on was a Polotli grandson, but this one was not the one that changed my life. As a child I studied books about breeds on horses and dogs. In dogs I prefer greyhounds. I already had a borzoi and a saluki when I was 14 years old. So my taste in horses is similar. It was already somehow written that in horses I would prefer the “greyhound of horses.” As for many other Teke fans, the picture of Kambar did fascinate me. Then at the age of 14 on a horse vacation (in Luxembourg) I saw my very first Teke and decided that one day I would have such a horse as well, though it took some more years, in fact until I earned my own money.

MM: You are one of the very few riders in the world competing with an Akhal-Teke at
an FEI level: have you ever ridden any other breed in high-level endurance
competition? What was different?

MvK: Sorry, I must disappoint you here. I am purist and only have competed on Tekes.
Before I owned my own horses I have ridden warmbloods as I had no choice, but since I am with Tekes it was and still is a revelation and I am not willing to change.
Tekes are much nicer to ride in my opinion than any other breed, but this of course does just engage me. Tekes do think with you, have wonderful gaits, etc. I would just have no joy riding if I had to change the breed.

MM: Why did you choose to do endurance with your Teke? Is this because you like the
sport or because you see the breed's potential in it?


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