HistoryThe Marwari, a horse from India, is special to those living there. The breed has been there for centuries, and is possibly the descendent of desert horses from Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. Over the centuries, many horses were brought to India by invaders from Persia, Greece, and Turkey. Although no one knows for certain, most people suspect those horses were Arabians, Mongolian horses, and Oriental horses.
In the Middle Ages, noble families of India selected only the best quality imported horses and to breed with horses native to their land, creating a superior war mount later known as the Marwari. The Indians honored their horses, praying over foals, having festivals in honor of the horse, and even setting up tombstones for those who died in battle.
|Marwari dressed traditionally. credit|
When the British occupied the country in the 1800s, however, the number of Marwarisquickly diminished due to slaughter and castration, and by the start of the 20th century, only 600 remained.
Late in the 20th century, Francesca Kelly traveled to India, becoming interested in saving the rare breed. With the help of Indian people enthusiastic about the Marwari, a breeding program was started in 1995, and then the Indigenous Horse Society of India. Kelly wanted to important some Marwaris to American, but horse exportation regulations disallowed it because India didn't meet the required standards. Five years later, Kelly was finally able to bring six Marwaris to the United States, hoping to help the breed.
Breed Description and Uses
Though small at a maximum of 15.2 hands high, Marwaris are quick and agile with a lot a stamina and energy. Many are born with an extra gait, called the apchal, that resembles the pace. All colors are found, including pinto. Perhaps most intriguing trait of the breed is the ears the curve inwards.
In India, the Marwari is used for farm work, transportation, and as police work.