Ashgabat: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday presented a specially handcrafted horse saddle to Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, known to be passionate about horses.

“President Berdimuhamedov is a keen horse rider and known for his passion for horse breeding, racing and equestrian,” said an official statement.

In Turkmenistan, horse-riding is an important part of culture.

Berdymukhamedov has also written books about horses and was given the title of “national horse-breeder of Turkmenistan”.

In May, Berdymukhamedov’s love of horses was immortalised with a golden statue of himself on horseback in the Turkmen capital. The statue in Ashgabat sits atop a mountain of marble, towering some 69 feet above the city.

Berdymukhamedov, 58, a Turkmen dentist and politician, was earlier acting president.

He took over as president following the death of President Saparmurad Niyazov on December 21, 2006.

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