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5 Interesting Facts about the Marwari Horse

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A breed of strength, loyalty, and grace, the Marwari horse is known for its beauty and unique ears, but did you know these interesting facts about this rare breed?

The Marwari horse is a loyal and brave warhorse.

Marwari horses were used in battle for various reasons. They remained loyal to their riders and were known to always be able to find their way home, carrying an injured or lost warrior miles to safety through the dessert. These horses also have exceptional hearing, notifying their masters when danger was near even before they were able to see it.

Portrait of a chestnut marwari horse.

A horse of many legends

The Marwari horse is a subject of many tales. One of which is about a horse named Chetk, a stallion that carried Maharana Pratap, a warrior who slayed the last of the Moguls in the battle of Haldighiti. The grey stallion was brave enough to take on an elephant and reared to allow Pretap to kill the Mogul on top of the war elephant. Even after being wounded by the tusks, the horse carried his master for miles before dying near a river.

Some people even believe that the Marwari horses can be traced back to the period of the gods and their horses with wings.

They were hated by the common folk of India

It wasn’t until after India achieved independence that anyone besides noblemen to mount or own a Marwari horse. Once independent, the people of the lower class took the chance for revenge on the horses because of the hated symbol they had become. Many were shot and castrated or became workhorses in farming.

Head shot of Marwari horse with characteristic curved ears.

It was illegal for a Marwari horse to leave India

Because the breed is rare and faced extinction, there was an export ban placed in the 1930s and no Marwari horses were able to leave India. It wasn’t until 2000 when the first shipment of 6 horses was sent to the US to Francesca Kelly, a horsewoman with a passion for Marwari horses. Today, the breed is still rare with fewer than 5000 purebred horses in the world. Kelly hopes to help restore numbers by breeding in the US today.

A horse studied by scientists

The Marwari horse was the first breed of Asia to have its whole genome sequenced. Because of being endangered, scientists wanted to help try to restore the breed. They were able to trace back the breeding input of Arabian and Mongolian horses. They were also able to pin the gene connected with their unique feature, their inward turning and sometimes touching ears being linked to the Kathiawari horse, another rare and old breed.

running Marwari horse chestnut colt in paddock. India

Marwari horses are a breed set apart from many in that they become one with their masters, even willing to die for them. Even though the breed is rare and has faced extinction, people respect these beautiful horses and have given back the same level of loyalty in hopes to increase numbers and continue breeding the pure and unique Marwari horse.  And who can resist those ears?

Have you seen a Marwari horse in real life? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Sources: [1], [2], [3], [4]

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