Credited with breeding the first Canadian-born Akhal Teke, Bold Vantage Farm out of High River, Alberta, is determined toBold Vantagesm continue breeding this rare breed to expose it to more Canadians. 

Originating in what is now Turkmenistan, there are now fewer than 4000 Akhal Tekes in the entire world. Just over 400 of these desert beauties can be found throughout North America and Canada is home to around 75.

Bringing it back to Alberta, Cynthia Swensen of Bold Vantage Farm has 25 purebred Akhal Tekes, and produces 3-5 foals a year.  The horses produced at Bold Vantage Farm are being readied for the disciplines of show-jumping and eventing primarily.

“It’s just really hard for people’s perceptions to change as to what the ‘ideal’ is for their sport,” comments Cynthia. “And honestly, at first glance, an Akhal Teke doesn’t usually fit the perception.  We need more people in the horse world that know ‘not to judge a book by its cover!’” 

Bold Vantage Farm started in the early 2000’s with Cynthia, her mother Valerie Broadfoot, a retired veterinarian, and partner John Kidd, a former British Equestrian Team member in show jumping.

“I originally started with Irish Draughts,” says Cynthia. “For me there is something about the rare breeds that I find compelling.  When I discovered more about Tekes it became clear to me that increasing the numbers was vital to raising the profile of the breed, as well as just plain saving it.  However, I came to no good end with them [Irish Draughts].  I broke my neck in ’06 at an eventing clinic on an Irish Sport Horse, so not only did my riding career basically end, but so did the allure of the bigger, more robust horses.

“I really found Tekes captivating as I was researching it and when I got to know the horses themselves I was hooked.  Bold Vantage 2smThe antiquity of the breed is quite compelling, as is its very little known influence on the Thoroughbred.”

Bold Vantage has one stallion, Murgab, who was imported from Russia in 2004. In addition, they have frozen semen from three other stallions.

“In 2010, the main Russian Studbook inspector visited Canada for the first time and we produced the number one graded foal in all of North America and had another tied for third, so I guess we a producing a product that the mother studbook recognizes as quality,” says Cynthia. “Our primary stallion was also graded on that tour and received 9 out of 10 for Movement, which is one of the main criteria animals are graded on.  He is the only Akhal Teke in North America with that score in that category.”