ridecamp@endurance.net: Re: [endurance] Akhal Teke Transport/Nat and Richard's post

Re: [endurance] Akhal Teke Transport/Nat and Richard's post

K S Swigart (katswig@deltanet.com)
Wed, 24 Jul 1996 17:47:22 -0700 (PDT)

On Wed, 24 Jul 1996, Cheryl Newbanks wrote:

> Hi all! I want to thank Nat and Richard for their response and the posting
> of Igatar's response on the Akhal Teke shipment. I too agree that there is
> alot to be desired about the information provided on the aol akhal teke web
> page. I would also like to thank them for their astute questioning on the
> importation portion of this offer. I have never imported a horse overseas
> before and wasn't sure about the process.

Since I am (nominally) currently in the process of starting a business to
import horses from the former Soviet Union into the US, I feel myself
marginally qualified to answer, at least, some of the questions addressed

Brining horses into the United States is no small feat (I cannot
comment on its difficulty in comparison with the UK as I have no
experience with that; however, it is MUCH more difficult that importing
into Eastern or Western Europe.) That said; it can be done, but I would
not recommend that anybody try it without employing a shipping agent who
is totally familiar with all USDA regulations and requirements (i.e.
don't try it without a "middle man"). If you do not have all your ducks
in a row when it comes to getting the horses into the US, then your horses
may get refused entry in which case they may be either sent back or
destroyed. Those "middle men" do get paid for providing a valuable service.

> At first I was interested in this
> offer (though I still can't figure out the price range in american dollars)
> but now I am VERY cautious.

You should be very cautious. There is no way to get horses from Russia
"on the cheap" YOur shipping expenses could be anything on the order of
$5,000 - 10,000 per horse. Granted, I am not absolutely sure that this
number is the same if you charter the whole plane, but chartering the
whole plane is only worthwhile if you can fill the whole plane with horses.

Which brings me to my third point. The assurance that all horses are
guaranteed to be free of piroplasmosis. Piroplasmosis is RAMPANT in the
north caucuses. Stud farms there have anywhere from 50% to 80% (some as
high as 100%, but presumably ITAGAR would not be talking to those stud
farms) piro-positive horses, and having spent a year doing business with
Russians, it has been my experience that "guarantees" are not worth the
paper they are written on, and there is NO recourse at law. If anybody does
take up this offer, I would recommend finding out just what the payment
process is, and would insist on paying with a letter of credit rather
than cash--the terms of the letter of credit being that funds are not
released to the seller until the horse passes through USDA quarantine.
Russians, being unfamiliar with international banking standards, may not
go for this, but the letter of credit was developed by British merchant
banks back in the 1700's just for this purpose.

Finally, I have had the opportunity to look at many horses while I have
been in Russia, and all I can say about what I have seen of the
Akhal-Teke there is that a) the really good Akhal-Teke's are not in
Russia, they are in Turkmenistan (and they can't be exported from there
as they are considered a national treasure) and b) the Russians are very
good judges of horseflesh and they are NOT selling any of the good ones
for cheap. There is a market for lower quality Russian horses, it is
called Germany. The Germans are importing many horses from Russia to be
mothing more than pleasure hacks. We don't need to import horses of this
quality into the US, we have more than plenty of them here. Unless you
are planning to start an Akhal-Teke breeding program of your own, you can
get a MUCH better quality horse for a MUCH more reasonable price here in

The high quality horses are either for sale at
very high prices or they are not for sale at all. The best way to get a
truely quality Akhal-Teke is to do some kind of favor for somebody who
breeds them, and then have one given to you as a gift (I believe that
Queen Elizabeth got hers this way). Besides, if you are going to go to
the enormous trouble and expense of flying the horse half way around the
world and jumping through hoops with the USDA, there is not much point in
doing so for a horse of marginal quality.

That said, it is possible that IGATAR has a good relationship with
Akhal-Teke stud farms in the north Caucuses, and that this truly is a way
to get a quality horse at a reasonable price. But, since the claim that
they are making is that the reasonable price comes from the fact that
middle men have been eliminated, that means you are going to be dealing
directly with the Russians, and most business in Russia today is done at
the point of a gun (this is over simplifying a bit here, but anybody who
is intersted can e-mail me privately and I can tell you all about the
nuances of doing business with Russians).

Natalia Vladimirovna is correct when she recommends approaching with caution.

If what you want is a quality endurance mount for a reasonable price, go
down and buy the son of a national champion out of the killer pens for
$650 (which is what some friends of mine did). Horses from Russia are
not reasonably priced. They are expensive.

Orange County, Calif.