Reliving Exotic India with the Marwari
The mere mention of horse breeds will probably bring to mine Europe or North America. The west however is not the only source of horse breeds in the world. For those who dare to explore, there are excellent breeds in the East. One of these is the Marwari.
Marwari Horse Origins
The name of the breed alone suggests exotic origins. The Marwari did in fact come from mysterious India and is hundreds of years old. It came from Rajasthan although sources are uncertain how it got there. It is likely that the first Marwari horses had strong Arabian horse influence. What is certain is that the horses were bred and used in the 13th century by the Rathores. These horses were originally intended to be war horses and were only ridden by members of the warrior class.
Although the Rathores were of noble origins, they eventually had to relocate in harsher environments. Naturally, they brought the Marwari breeding system with them. The combined intention of creating warrior horses and the difficult living conditions has contributed to the solidification of strong Marwari traits. The Marwari was said to be so brave in battle that it would stand up to elephants and charge at opponents. It was indeed the perfect mount for the warrior class.
As with other horse breeds, changing times nearly led to the elimination of this breed. In India, the greatest change to ever happen was the British occupation and the eventual independence of India. The British preferred to use another horse breed. This threatened to dilute the usefulness of the Marwari breed. The independence of India also eventually marked the dawn of a new era. Gone were the days of armed combat while mounted of royal horses. The Marwari seemed to have outlived its purpose. Many of the horses were killed.
It was only a little over fifteen years ago when the Marwari was once again brought to the spotlight. Aside from the horse’s natural grace and beauty, its intimate link to the history of India has endeared it to breeders and conservation specialists. Today, efforts are being exerted to preserve this breed.
Recognizing the Marwari
It’s easy to recognize a Marwari when you see one. Its two distinctive features are its long, slim head and ears that curve inward. It has a graceful, arched neck; a short back; sloping shoulders; a wide, deep chest and solidly muscled quarters. It stands at about fourteen to fifteen hands with some horses reaching a bit over 17 hands. The horses come in many different colors. Even more distinguishing are the horse’s character traits. Because of its environment, it has acquired great stamina and is very hardy. It is also intelligent, spirited, proud and brave. By all appearances, it still retains its royal bearing.
Today, the Marwari are no longer warrior horses. They are however highly esteemed as riding horses. Some Marwari horses have found their way in equestrian sports like polo. It can be assumed that the Marwari may not do so bad in dressage since some horses have been known to dance during ceremonies.