In a guest Post Arvind Chawdhary Polo Player,Marwari Horse enthusiast and team leader for The Thar Marwari Horse Safari, Jaipur writes about The Marwari Horse.
As much a mystery as a legend, the Marwari horse instantly evokes reminiscence of the valorous Chetak. The loyal horse of Maharana Pratap of Mewar is alive even today in the annals of history in Rajasthan synonymous for valour, speed and stamina.
The elegant and brave, intelligent and graceful, strong and high in performance, proud and athletic, the horse has been long enshrined in the bardic literature of Medieval Rajasthan. One of the finest horse breeds in the world today, the elegant Marwari comes from an ancient Arab-Turkmeni mix lineage that evolved in the harsh desert climate of the Marwar Region in India.
The horse has since time immemorial had a symbiotic relationship with the desert and the soldiers. The Marwari horse was an awe-inspiring sight on the battlefield with the soldier, who unmindful of the dangers was battling between – victory and death. His resolve helped in no small measure by the confidence he had in his steed – a magnificent horse rearing on its hind legs over the din of clashing swords and warriors’ curses. The Marwari was truly a hero’s horse. Maharana Pratap rode one, the peerless Chetak. Amar Singh Rathore rode Udal and Pabu ji rode Kesar Kalmi . As did most of the heroes whose deeds light up Rajasthan’s embattled history.
By traditional accounts, the Marwari horse has been bred in Rajasthan since at least 1212 C.E. It was originally developed to be a war horse. Bred by the Rathores, the traditional rulers of Marwar, the valiant Rajputs developed a policy of strict selective breeding.
Graceful in his gait the Marwari horses are born with a “rehwal” or “revaal”, a quick, four-beat lateral gait, which is smoother and more comfortable than a trot, used in the desert to cover long distances with greater comfort.
The horse is distinctive with a long head with a broad forehead, wide-set large and alert eyes, a roman nose with full nostrils, and a well-shaped mouth. The most distinctive feature of the Marwari horse is its lyre-shaped ears, which curve inwards and meet at the tips. The ears capable of rotating through an angle of 180 degrees apart from providing the horse with an extremely acute hearing also protect it in sand-storms.The average height of a Marwari Horse is 62-66 inches.And when he leaps, he spans 12 feet!
Apart from their undoubted use in battle, Marwaris were excellent horses for hunting and racing. Albino Marwaris were considered priceless and were used in religious ceremonies. Today, the horse is used for horse riding safaris, endurance competitions, religious ceremonies, and earlier were also in the Cavalry of the Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan Police.
The horse in recent years, has gained a strong following both inside and outside India. The Marwari horse is capable of adapting almost anywhere. Its undoubted beauty and courageous disposition along with the steadfast loyalty it shows towards its owners is making it very trendy with horse enthusiasts.The Marwari has also raced at The Meerut Race Club in May 2008 for the first time in the Indian racing history of past 129 years.In March 2009 three Marwari horses will be show cased at the EQUITANA-2009 ( a biannual equestrian sports world fair)in Germany for the first time.