Marwari horse - Breeds & Info
Marwari Horse Article and Photos Copyrighted - see credits below
Most do not think of India when horse breeding is concerned, but the Marwari horse of India is certainly a fine accomplishment of the Indian horse breeders. It is an old and refined breed, with unique features and qualities, and closely related to the Kathiawari breed, also of India.
There is a tale of Arab horses obtained from a shipwreck off the West Indian coast to have been influential in the foundation of the breed, but it is obvious that the same refined ancient horse which became ancestral to the Arab has left its mark everywhere in southern Asia. There is no need, therefore, for any Arab crosses to explain the emergence of the Marwari horse, or the Kathiawari. What these horses are they could have become simply by selective breeding.
The breed was developed in medieval times, when horse breeding was the main occupation during the period of Mogul Akbar, resulting in a cavalry of reportedly over 50,000 horses. The feats attributed to horses of this breed in combat are bordering the incredible. They are held in high esteem for their phantastic courage, endurance, hardiness, and intimate relationship with their masters, placing their masters welfare before their own.
As with so many other breeds, when the need for a cavalry dropped to zero, the Marwari horse breed came close to extinction. In 1930, Maharaja Umaid Singhji started an intensive attempt to save this valuable breed, which had taken centuries to develop. Scouts were sent all over the state to find the best remaining stallions and mares.
The status of the breed is still that of being rare, but its breeding is supported by the Indian government and not really in a precarious state. With the prestigious purpose of the war horse gone, they are now used for wedding ceremonies, or for such lowly jobs even as pulling taxi carriages.
It is quite interesting that the Marwari horse is gaited. The lateral gait is called rehwal, and while some have to be taught to do it, many are naturally gaited. The origin of lateral gaits in horses remains a mystery.
Looking at these elegant, somewhat dainty horses, one would not anticipate their toughness and sound physical constitution. They do not need shoes unless the ground is very rocky, and their limbs are strong and sound.
The height ranges between 14 and 15,2 hands, the neck is clean and of sufficient length, the withers prominent, the back short and strong, the legs rather long, with well-developed joints. The Marwari horse has no fetlock hair and is proportionally muscled. It has an over-all look of refinement, to which the noble head is the icing on the cake. The head sports a broad forehead, a small muzzle, and the feature these horses are known by: their hooked ears. No other breed except the Kathiawari has ears as curved! They look like little scythes and are the first thing one notices with these horses, because they are so unique. They are so curved they touch at the tips. It would be an injustice to judge them simply by their ears, though, because the Marwari horse is a sure-enough performer and a credit to the Indian horse breeder.
A Marwari horse and Cattle Show is held annually, and there is an active Marwari breeders' association.
Article ©HorseShowCentral.com. Submitted by Hardy Oelke and Photos ©Oelke or Oelke Archive.
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