President profits as Turkmenistan celebrates its beloved horses

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The Independent Online

Wearing a blue kaftan and shaggy sheepskin hat, Turkmenistan's President looked every part the accomplished horse-riding tribesman as he cantered on his jewel-adorned stallion before cheering crowds. The crowning touch came when a white dove landed on his shoulder.

President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov was at the centre of his country's celebrations of its beloved Akhal-Teke horse breed. The festivities culminated yesterday with the opening of four lavish race tracks.

By performing before hundreds of spectators, Mr Berdymukhamedov once again cemented his well-worn action-man credentials. And as state media helpfully noted, the landing of the dove on his shoulder is "an ancient symbolic omen of a blessing from above".