What a time we are in. We do hope you are staying safe and well. None of us chose the challenge of COVID-19 for this time. And we would not have chosen to launch the Akhal-Teke Foundation into the middle of a pandemic.
Phil Case, the original importer of Akhal-Teke horses into the U.S., was a tireless benefactor to our beloved breed of Akhal-Tekes, and he is sorely missed, by many.
When Phil died in early December, 2019, our work together with him, to carry his legacy forward into something larger - a true public charity for Akhal-Teke education and preservation - was thrust forward by need into action, even as the coronavirus crisis was just starting to unfold around the world.
The detailed plans we had been reviewing and revising with Phil called for fundraising to establish a national Akhal-Teke Education Center, on a working Akhal-Teke breeding farm — potentially, but not necessarily, Phil’s Shenandoah Farm in Staunton, Virgina — to be the cornerstone facility for a wide variety of important programs to support the mutual success of Akhal-Teke fans, riders, trainers, owners, and breeders.
Part of the vision was for Phil’s decorated herd of Akhal-Teke stallions and mares to provide resident horses for establishing the educational programs. Instead, his death threw the future of some 35 purebred Akhal-Tekes into uncertainty.
With incredible support from the Case family, we are now working in double time - despite the turbulent circumstances - toward standing up this vital educational entity. The Akhal-Teke Foundation is the new national non-profit umbrella organization to support this effort.
To move forward effectively, we should raise an annual amount of $17,000, and build a endowment for the future, as well.
Many people are, or will be, in financial distress during the virus crisis. And many - most? - of people’s investments are losing significant amounts of their face value.
However, some people may still have means, and if you are among that special number - if you love the Akhal-Teke horses - and if you can support their incredible legacy, in our very difficult times, we would be grateful for your contribution, whether in any small symbolic amount to express support, or as a significant contributor with an amount of $1000 or more.
It will be our pleasure to answer any questions by text or voice to 541-514-4766, or by email to “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
We need your help, to help the Akhal-Teke horses. Please contribute here:
Checks can be written to the “Akhal-Teke Foundation,” and mailed to: Akhal-Teke Foundation, 84020 Brown Road, Dexter, OR 97431
Thank you. For the horses.
PS: The Akhal-Teke Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit public charity, registered with the State of Oregon and the IRS. Contributions made to the Akhal-Teke Foundation are federally tax exempt.
As I write, we are in the final stages of winding down Phil and Margot Case’s historic Shenandoah Farm, “The Akhal-Teke Stud,” storied home of Senetir and Oliva, the first purebred Akhal-Tekes imported to North America.
I’d like to update the Akhal-Teke community on our progress to date.
First, I want to remember together just how much Phil and Margot’s achievements with Akhal-Tekes are worthy of legend. Senetir alone produced 30 purebred and 31 halfbred foals, 48% of whom competed successfully, 20% at upper levels, in eventing, dressage, jumping, and endurance. Two of his sons, Sengar and Kandar, were long-listed for the U.S. Olympic Team in eventing, for the 1996 and 2000 games, respectively.
It’s an extremely impressive record for any equestrian sports stallion. Now consider that these amazing results were achieved by the very first representative of his breed ever on the continent!
In recent years, Shenandoah Farm had slowed down, with Margot’s sad passing, and Phil’s health declining. Still, looking past the collapsed roof of the training arena and some seasonally overgrazed pasture, the farm continued to be a place of surpassing equine excellence.
For instance, at the 2016 SANA Rare Breeds show at the Virginia Horse Center - under barn manager Sabine Desper - Shenandoah Farm chalked up wins for overall breed champion (Anikit) and junior champion (Kumitra), for dressage up to 1st Level (Kurizma), and 2nd level and above (Adamek), in various jumping categories, for Most Versatile Akhal-Teke (Kurizma), as well as notching firsts in both get of sire (Agades group), and produce of dam (Agniya group).
Sadly, Phil Case passed away in December, 2019, at the age of 87. As Pat and I were already in the thick of detailed legacy planning with Phil, his family enlisted us to manage the process of winding down the farm. They also generously agreed to fund six months of continuing farm operations from Phil’s estate, giving us a time window to work in.
Then COVID-19 rolled in.
Under challenging conditions, with a roster of some 35 horses to place, including 14 stallions, we knew we had to approach this systematically, and always coming back to our prime directive:
Do what’s best for each individual horse, and for the Akhal-Teke breed.
We wanted to avoid a fire sale of great Akhal-Teke horses, that would send too many horses to arbitrary outcomes, and would crash the market nationally for Akhal-Teke horses — as we’ve seen occur cyclically with other large farm closures — further endangering progress for our rare and amazing breed.
And of course we wanted to be as fair as possible to all comers, avoiding favoritism, not giving away valuable horses for pennies, and when making complex choices among contradictory factors, always returning to that prime directive.
We also wanted, to the ambiguous extent that might be possible as the COVID-19 crisis swept the nation, to work in the direction of our legacy plans with Phil, a shared dream of keeping together a core of the Shenandoah herd, to become an education, research, and community resource under the common management of a national Akhal-Teke non-profit. And so, after some quick groundwork, in February we launched the Akhal-Teke Foundation.
The individual stories of imagining the possibilities for each of 35 horses, delving layer by layer into their individual qualities and needs, and then juggling and rejuggling placement opportunities to match up as best we could, might fill a book... though maybe a book only crazy horse nerds would want to read.
Thankfully, many Akhal-Teke lovers, especially some with long connections to Shenandoah Farm, have stepped forward to help, and in many ways. Thank you Karen Yates, and Kiki Osbourne, and Chris Chenery, and several others, for your generous spirit and contributions. What a pleasant surprise it was, for instance, to find that a number of retired mares, past breeding or riding, were among the early horses to find loving new families!
After some seven months, here’s how it is sorting out, in approximate numbers, all referring to purebred Akhal-Tekes. Five elderly horses were sold for token amounts to committed permanent homes. Around five good riding horses were sold to good homes, in Virgina, Mississippi, Kansas, and Texas, with the funds from these sales going to support the other Shenandoah Farm horses, and the continuing work of the Akhal-Teke Foundation.
Nine horses under lien for accumulated years of unpaid boarding and care costs were allowed to leave the farm, freeing the Case family from carrying those mounting costs even further, although the legal status of these nine horses, through no fault of their own, remains sadly unresolved.
Around 15 horses, including some five stallions, and ranging all the way from hard-to-place to especially-valuable, from a breed perspective, will go into a variety of lease-type situations under the unified management of the Akhal-Teke Foundation, to meet their individual needs and potentials ranging from breeding, to surgery and rehab, to groundwork training, to FEI-level dressage competition.
One stallion sent out on a breeding lease has already made a purebred mare owner happy by successfully breedings with fresh semen AI.
For 40 years, from the arrival of Senetir in 1979, to 2019, Phil and Margot ran The Akhal-Teke Stud with an expansive, generous spirit, making vast and invaluable contributions to establishing the Akhal-Teke in North America.
Over the millennia of Akhal-Tekes on Earth, these special horses have periodically relied on special people to step up in service of their survival.
We are so grateful for all the generous support from today’s generation of Akhal-Teke lovers. You make this ongoing transition of the remarkable Case legacy, into a robust, explicitly non-profit model possible, to continue helping the Akhal-Teke horse thrive in North America.
So many friends of Shenandoah Farm and the Akhal-Teke were made over 40 years from when Phil & Margot Case brought the first ever Akhal-Teke mare and stallion to the United States in 1979. At the time that we lost Phil in December, 2019, there were 34 purebred Akhal-Tekes under his care on that famous Virginia farm. Phil and Margot’s heirs chose to entrust us with finding a positive future for each of these precious horse friends.
Now, with waves on waves of nerdy paperwork mostly completed, the Akhal-Teke Foundation would like to report to the friends of Shenandoah Farm, and to the Akhal-Teke community in general, on where the horses have landed. We tried, though a long year of intensity and uncertainty and ups and downs, to do what was best for each horse, and what was best for Akhal-Teke breed, given the powers available to us.
It was so heartwarming to see true Akhal-Teke lovers step forward with homes for the senior mares. Kurina (Senetir x Kushka, 1994) went to Karen Yates, who had famously ridden her full brother, Kandar (Senetir x Kushka, 1985) to an Olympic hopeful level in eventing. Another long time friend of the farm took Agniya (Amelit x Gumri, 1994) and Goldka (Senetir x Goldka, 1994), keeping those two together, and also bought the stallion Merglet (Mergen x Marenklet, 2007).
We need to mention the 10 purebred Akhal-Teke horses who had been imposed on Phil and Margot’s generosity at Shenandoah Farm for some 15 years by a non-contributing absentee owner. He was persuaded for one mare, Thaya (Pan x Khimka, 2006), to be sold to a great home with an active Virginia rider, but we had to settle for the remaining nine horses to simply be removed. The subsequent ups and downs for those nine horses is another story — while the ensuing court judgement is a matter of public record.
Another sad outcome came to the retired eventing stallion Koublet (Doublet x Kushka, 1994), who failed from long term EPM in the early months after Phil’s passing. The story of preserving Koublet’s genetics with a posthumous collection has already appeared in the ATAA newsletter. Even more sad was the fate of Sengar’s beloved daughter Zara (Sengar x Zirehgeran, 2005), who was pulled from jumping with young riders to breed another outstanding filly like Zenus and Zarana. Zara was one month pregnant again to Anikit when we lost her tragically, safe in her paddock, to an unexplained broken leg.
Several other horses were sold, when a good home was found at a fair price, with the Case heirs contributing all of the horse sales proceeds back to support the remaining herd. Horses sold include senior stallion Goblet (Doublet x Gavan, 1997) to a farm with Akhal-Tekes in Virgina (where he has bred again), Kumarra (Marakan x Kurina, 2007) to a veterinarian in Mississippi, Kumitra (Anikit x Kumarra, 2014) to a farm with Akhal-Tekes in Kansas, stallion Kurizma (Agades x Kurina, 2009) to a long-time ‘Teke rider in Texas, and Magda (Pieter x Miranda, 2006) to a competing rider in Virgina.
The remaining 12 horses, representing a substantial core of the Case herd, were donated by the Case heirs to the Akhal-Teke Foundation, for long term stewardship. Ten of these are on leases to the most appropriate homes we could find, horse by horse. Two stallions, Kiergen (Mergen x Kerki, 2005) and Anikit (Agades x Agniya, 2009), are in the direct care of the Foundation, and they both had multiple breeding opportunities in 2021.
Anduma (Agades x Goldka, 2011) is on a breeding lease in Tennessee, where he has achieved his first two foals on the ground, one purebred, one athletic cross. Adamek (Gindarkh x Agniya, 2005) is on a breeding and competition lease with his long time rider and trainer, Sabine Desper. The pair has been moving up steadily in dressage at fourth level, and next year will compete with the outstanding support of a grant from the ATAA.
Surgan was gelded in 2020, and has been recovering safely at an endurance-oriented farm in Florida, after a training placement that had collapsed due to veterinary issues, diagnosed later. The mare Merdana (Gindarkh x Marenka, 2004) is continuing in Virgina, eventing in a successful placement with a rider to whom Phil had loaned her. Delguli (Gindarkh x Dogoni, 2009) is on a breeding lease at another Akhal-Teke farm in Virgina, and pregnant for 2021. Maiden mares Anadana (Anikit x Merdana, 2014), Gavinka (Gindarkh x Goldka, 2005), Kebelek (Goklen x Kerki, 2004), and Kurinka (Marakan x Kurina, 2005) are together on a breeding lease in Kansas — where they met back up with Kumitra — and at least two of them are pregnant for 2021.
Outstanding filly Zenus (Anikit x Zara, 2018) is on a training lease in Virgina, progressing beautifully with a Grand Prix dressage trainer, who generously stepped up for this project based on her previous Akhal-Teke experience.
In addition to the twelve donated horses, the Akhal-Teke Foundation has also received the Case archive of frozen semen, including Arik (Ametist x Aishat, 1978), Doblet (Senetir x Dunja, 1987), Kashman (Senetir x Kushka, 1983), Marakan (Melekhan x Marishka, 1989), Senetir (Sektor x Altyn, 1976), and Sengar (Senetir x Oliva, 1984). We look forward to making a limited amount of those priceless genetic resources available to the Akhal-Teke community in the near future.
We need your help, to keep helping the Akhal-Teke horses. Please contribute here:
Pat is Chair of the Board of the Livestock Conservancy, and a recent board member of the Akhal-Teke Association of America. A life-long horsewoman, her professional background spans biology and ecology, collaboration and project management. Her non-profit experience includes serving as an officer and board member on a diversity of non-profit organizations, as well as successful fundraising of millions of dollars for various non-profit and community projects.
A blacksmith, educator, organizer, and entrepreneur, Kevin combines formal education, with college and postgraduate study in horse breeding and genetics, training, and riding, with wide practical experience from breeding, training, and transport, to forage analysis and production, to management of horse and ranching operations at farms across the country. In addition to extensive experience in delivering both curated and crowd-sourced information to both specialized and general audiences, Kevin has non-profit experience as an officer and board member for charitable organizations in several sectors, including successful fundraising of millions of dollars for a variety of NGO and community projects. He currently also serves on the board of the Akhal-Teke Association of America (ATAA).