On the last Sunday of April, Turkmenistan traditionally marks a national holiday - the Day of Turkmenian Racing Horse. On this day, the republic's capital city hosts various events, primarily horse races. Most of these races are invariably dominated by the famous Akhalteke horses, traditionally glorified by the Turkmens as a symbol of honour and one of the principal national assets. An image of the Akhalteke horse figures in the centre of Turkmenistan's National Emblem, thus epitomizing an inalienable part of the country's profile worldwide. At present there are over 1,000 "Akhaltekints" in Turkmenistan. On the eve of the current holiday, Ashgabat hosted an international congress Akhaltekin Horse-Breeding: History and Prospects. The congress was organized jointly by the Association of Akhalteke Horse Breeders and the Turkmen Atlary (Turkmenian Horses) State Association. The congress brought together the Republic's leading specialists of both state-owned and private horse-breeding farms as well as numerous foreign guests - heads of foreign associations of Akhalteke horse fans, experts specializing in studying this unique breed, and major horse-breeders from Great Britain, Sweden, France, Spain, Iran and other countries. On Sunday, in addition to traditional horse races, the Ashgabat Hippodrome staged a parade of the famous Akhalteke horses, champions of numerous sports events and races. Tonight, the holiday organizing committee will hold an official ceremony of awarding the winners of various horseback riding sports events as well as of the international children's drawing contest I Draw an Akhalteke Horse.
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