05.05.10 22:37

White Horse of Victory

In the year of the 65th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War it will be for the first time in the post-Soviet history that the Red Square will host the military parade on May 9 with participation of not only representatives of the Russian Armed Forces but also military men of other nations who fought shoulder to shoulder with the Russians in 1941-1945. Turkmenistan, who made a significant contribution to the overall victory both at the front and in the rear, will be represented at the parade by soldiers of the honor guard, whose commander will ride a white Akhal-Teke horse on the Kremlin's pavement.

The appearance of the Turkmen Horse in the Red Square is perceived by many as something extraordinary. Meanwhile, few people know that the Soviet Union Marshal, Georgy Zhukov, reviewed the Victory Parade on 24 June 1945 riding a thoroughbred Akhal-Teke stallion named Arab (military nickname Kazbek). Some sources claim that Stalin could not review the parade simply because he did not have sufficient riding skills. After all, all over the world the image of a great commander is presented as riding a horse, a true brother in arms, who is normally chosen from the light-gray breed to distinguish a leader from soldiers.

It is noteworthy that Arab-Kazbek left his mark in history not only by participating in the first Victory Parade. During his equestrian career, he set many records for speed and high jump, and later was handed over to Dzhambul stud farm N 49. It was he who gave birth to legendary Absinthe - repeated champion of the USSR and the first Olympic champion, who maintained his primacy over 12 years and received the title "The best racing horse of the twentieth century", who later became one of the main producers of the Akhal-Teke breed of horses.

Today, after 65 years, supreme commanders receive parades in open white limousines that symbolically took the place of the horse. But this year the parade will be a special and historic event because beautiful stallion Gyrat, a direct descendant of Arab, will march in the Red Square.

Gyrat is not a random name. This was the name of a true friend of the protagonist of the famous Turkmen epic "Gorogly". For Brave Gorogly his horse was invaluable. "If there was a man who would have wished to buy you at the price of his soul, then even this price would be no match for you," Gorogly would say. This horse was galloping so fast (like a bird flying in the skies) that he is remembered in folk memory as "the winged horse".

The 11-year-old horse from the stables of the President of Turkmenistan, a model horse-breeding farm with an elite core of thoroughbred Akhal-Teke horses, was transported to Moscow in late April. Since then, Gyrat has been kept in the equestrian club CSKA under the supervision of stablemen and veterinarians. He is transported in a special trailer to rehearsals in the heart of Moscow.

The first time the stallion set his foot on the Kremlin's pavement was May 2, during the first night rehearsal of the parade, and marched several times in the direction from the Historical Museum to Vasilyevsky Slope as part of the foreign military contingent. As an experienced participant of military parades in his homeland, Gyrat got scared neither of the composite orchestra music, nor of the polyphony of three-time "Hurrah", nor of the crash of tens of thousands of soldiers' boots.

In the course of rehearsals the parade organizers did not have a single criticism for the coherent march of the armed forces of Turkmenistan who will bring up the rear of foreign soldiers, as if opening the so-called historical part of the parade. It is deeply symbolic that, like 65 years ago, the white Akhal-Teke horse, Gyrat, like his ancestor Arab, will be followed by the military men dressed in the uniform of the Great Patriotic War and famous T-34 tanks and self-propelled artillery SU-100.

Ahead is the final night practice as well as dress rehearsal on May 6 with military equipment and aircrafts that beautiful Gyrat will have to get used to. On the actual day of the 65th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War, the white Turkmen Akhal-Teke horse will march in lockstep with soldiers wearing ceremonial military attire in the accompaniment of well-known wartime songs as a living symbol of military valor and revival of ancestral martial traditions.

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