Have you ever wanted to know more about the Marwari horse? These stunning horses are quite incredible, and there are lots of interesting things to learn about them, where they came from, and what they are like – so let’s look at some of the key characteristics and interesting facts about them.
The Marwari horse is a rare breed of horse that is famous for its endurance and beauty. It has often been used by nobility when riding into battle, and it comes from the Marwar region of Rajasthan, India. The horses are not common and only certain castes were allowed to own and ride them for some time.
Among the rarest horse breeds, the Marwari breed appeared in the 12th century and was intended as a cavalry horse. War horses were in high demand, and breeding practices were very strict in order to create a horse that could endure much hardship and remain brave in the face of battle.
Nobody knows exactly where the Marwari horse first originated from, but according to FEI, in 2014, efforts were made to map out its genome. This showed that the breed has Mongolian and Arabian elements in its genetic makeup.
It is probably that native ponies were bred with Arabian horses to create this beautiful and loyal horse. The breed standards were extremely strict, and these warhorses were essential to the survival of their owners.
In the 16th century, they formed part of a mighty cavalry force of over 50,000 horses and riders, and the horses showed phenomenal bravery ad loyalty on the battlefield.
In 1995, a British woman called Francesca Kelly decided to found a group for these horses. It was called the Marwari Bloodlines, and its goal was to promote this horse across the globe.
She then joined forces with Raghuvendra Singh Dundlod in 1999, and their group founded the Indigenous Horse Society of India.
This group continued the work Kelly had started, promoting and conserving the Marwari breed all over the globe.
Their work and success in endurance races during the Indian national equestrian games led to the creation of a national show for indigenous horses.
Both of these people had input on the breed standards that were created, and are somewhat responsible for shaping the Marwari we know today.
So, how did the horse spread around the world?
The first Marwari horse was not imported into the United States until the year 2000, and in 2007, plans to create a studbook were initiated.
The Marwari horse remains rare throughout the world, but in 2009, the Marwari Horse Society became a government body and allows for the government-authorized registration of the horses.
So, what do they look like? TheSprucePets says that they are usually between fourteen and sixteen hands high, and they are light, slender horses. They only weigh up to a thousand pounds.
The breed comes in quite a few different colors, such as piebald and skewbald, bay, chestnut, palomino, and grey. The grey horses are particularly popular and are usually the most valuable, but black horses are considered unlucky and do not tend to be as popular.
White horses cannot be registered as Marwari. Marwari horses can have blazes and socks, and those with both a blaze and all four white socks are thought of as lucky.
You have probably already noticed the Marwari ears are very unusual. The tips actually meet at the top on some horses, and they are very curved and distinctive.
They are a sure way to tell that the horse is a Marwari!
Like all horses, the Marwari needs a well-balanced diet in order to stay healthy. Because these horses are slim and not very heavy, it’s crucial that you don’t feed them too much, or they may gain weight and start to struggle with joint problems.
The Marwari horse needs a diet that is mostly comprised of grass or hay. While some small and occasional treats are healthy, it’s important not to let your horse fill up on these things or it will start to suffer from ill-health.
As a very rough rule of thumb, MarwariHorses recommends feeding your horse about two and a half percent of its body weight each day. For example, they say that a 500 kg horse ought to be given between seven and ten kilograms of hay in a day; this gives it everything it needs in the correct quantities.
Breeding And Uses
The breeding of Marwari horses is strict, and it has been used as a cavalry horse for many years by the Indian government. The breed was known for being able to return with wounded soldiers after a battle, despite having no guidance from their rider.
They also have extremely good hearing and can be useful in many settings. However, they are medium-light horses and should not be used to pull very heavy loads.
Because the horse has broad shoulders, it is good at coping with deep sand, and the desert is no problem for it. You are therefore likely to find these horses in such a setting.
Marwari horses are also excellent at traveling long distances and are built for endurance in every way. Their feet are very hardy and tough, and they can handle extremely long journeys as long as the pace is not too fast.
Marwari horses have thin skin, which makes it easier for it to deal with thirstiness and heat, according to InTheSaddle.
Marwari horses stand about fourteen to sixteen hands high when fully grown. Traditionally, the tallest Marwari horses were only around fifteen hands or less (with fourteen being about average), but the breed has shifted slightly.
Now, it is common to see horses of a little over fifteen hands, although sixteen hands tall still remains relatively rare.
What Breeds Make Up The Marwari Horse?
You may have heard quite a few myths about the breeds that make up this amazing horse, but many have now been disproved. The horse is thought instead to be a mixture of Mongolian and Arabian horses, with some of the native ponies in Marwar.
The Marwari horse almost became extinct in the early 20th century, when chaos in India saw fewer and fewer of these horses being bred. The British people living in India had a preference for thoroughbreds and polo ponies and as the conflicts in the area reduced, the need for war horses faded.
However, the breed has continued to today, and now many people are working to conserve it and ensure that it continues going forward.
We briefly covered some of the colors that a Marwari horse can be, but let’s run through a few more. According to FEI, a Marwari might be:
As mentioned, white disqualifies a horse as a Marwari, unless it is markings rather than body color.
What Do They Look Like?
Marwari horses are tall, slim, and very elegant horses. They have rounded muscular quarters, and a medium-length back.
They also have high, arched necks, and broad shoulders that help them to maintain their balance and footing in the desert.
What Are They Used For?
Marwari horses have traditionally been used as war horses, but what about today? Well, they were still being used in wars as recently as World War One, according to HorseyHooves. That is surprisingly recent, given how long their history is!
They also played large roles in the history of wars in India, but despite this usefulness, they have declined dramatically in recent years. Although numbers are climbing, they have been hindered by the caste system in India, which stated that most classes could not own these horses.
So, what about other uses?
You might be surprised to learn that Marwari horses were often used for dances at festivals and weddings and these days, they are used for pleasure riding, as well as for dances, shows, and show jumping.
Finally, they make good carriage horses, and so they are useful in a variety of modern settings. They have a very smooth gait, which makes them suitable riding horses for long rides and for people who get uncomfortable being in the saddle of a bouncy horse.
Where Do They Live?
Most of these horses live in India and take their standard from the Indigenous Horse Society. They are found in other parts of the world, too, but the majority of the horses are still found in their home of northwest India.
According to HorsesAndFoals, export was banned for a long time. The ban was briefly lifted in 2000, but in 2006, it was reinstated. Since 2008, temporary travel has been permitted, but most horses are still found in India.
How Long Do They Live?
IndianPets says that a Marwari horse will live between twenty-five and thirty years, which isn’t bad! They are considered great horses, being intelligent, brave, and loyal, so they are ideal companions, although you are very unlikely to be able to buy one if you do not live in India.
How Fast Are They?
HorseBreedsPictures says that a Marwari horse can run up to 40 km per hour. They are not the fastest horses out there, but they are quick.
Bear in mind that they also have excellent endurance, and can cover very long distances with ease, and without much of a rest. This makes them an ideal choice for endurance riding. They also cope well with rough terrain and sand, although they are not so fast in these conditions as on flat ground, of course.
They manage well with the heat, which gives them an edge over some other horses, especially in hot countries. However, they don’t thrive so well in the cold!
How Much Do They Cost?
These horses aren’t found for sale very often, but theoretically, how much does one cost?
It can vary quite a lot and will depend enormously on where you are and whether there are horses available. However, you should expect to be paying anywhere between $5000 and $15000.
Because Marwari horses are rare and there are stringent rules about exporting them, you will probably find that you can’t even buy one easily. Of course, the price of the horse will depend on quite a lot of things.
Factors to consider include the color (grey horses will cost you more) and the age of the horse. Older horses, past around fourteen years old, often cost considerably less because they are no longer in their prime.
Breeding and health also make a big difference to the cost. A horse that has suffered from an injury or has some sort of illness will not be as expensive as a young, strong, healthy horse.
Are They Good For Beginners?
You might be wondering whether a Marwari horse is okay for someone who is just getting started as a rider. They are suitable in many ways, although you should always get to know and assess multiple breeds of horses before you make a decision about which to buy.
Let’s explore what makes them good for beginners.
Firstly, they are friendly, gentle, loyal creatures. They bond closely with their owners, and they tend to be brave, meaning that they won’t spook and bolt too easily.
This can help to reassure inexperienced riders and make it easier for them to instruct the horse.
We have already mentioned that Marwari horses have a smooth, comfortable gait, which makes them well suited to beginners. They also have good endurance and are patient, which is great if you are just starting out as a rider.
According to HorseRidingHQ, a further advantage is that they do not need a lot of grooming or maintenance. While you do need to be prepared to do lots of work before you take on a horse, a low-maintenance one can ease the load a bit.
Are Marwari Horses Good Jumpers?
Yes, Marwari horses are good jumpers. They are popular with riders who want to practice jumping and show jumping is one of their commonest modern uses.
Are Marwari Horses Gaited?
Marwari horses are gaited, yes, but not in the usual way. They will amble, trot, pace, and rack, and this makes riding them quite an interesting and unusual experience.
Of these, the rack is the commonest kind of gait. This is when the horse lifts its back feet up higher than its front feet as it walks – you may have seen a horse doing this.
If you aren’t used to riding a gaited horse, it may take a bit of time to get used to it. However, because their step is much smoother than that of many other horses, Marwaris are popular.
Their unusual step pattern results in a smooth sequence that stops the rider from getting jolted around from side to side as the horse moves.
They have an energetic, high step that makes them look beautiful when pulling a carriage, and makes them popular for show jumping.
Why Are Marwari Horses’ Ears Curled?
HorseRidingHQ suggests that the ears may be curled because this helps to prevent dust and dirt from getting into them, which is particularly important for horses that evolved to ride through the desert.
It is also possible that the curved ears allow the horse to hear better, and the Marwari horse certainly does have very sharp hearing.
It isn’t clear if the curled ears offer further evolutionary benefits.
Some Marwari horses have very curled ears, which overlap in the middle, while others only have a small curve. Their ears certainly make them stand out from other breeds of horse!
Are There Marwari Horses In The US?
There are a few Marwari horses in the US, yes – but very few. Almost all of these horses are found in India, not abroad. It is thought that less than thirty exist outside India, with most of those thirty being found in the United States.
How To Pronounce Marwari Horse
You should pronounce Marwari as: maar waw ree in the US and maa waa ree in the UK.
How Many Marwari Horses Are Left In The World?
Despite efforts to increase the numbers, these horses remain rare. According to NJ, there are probably a few more than 900 in total, and despite being a very old and much loved and respected breed, they are rare.
How Many Marwari Horses Are There In India?
It is thought that there are around 900 Marwari horses left in India and only a small handful in the rest of the world. Because these horses were so prized, they have remained rare – few people were allowed to own them or could afford to.
Marwari horses are a beautiful and unique breed that has stayed popular in India for centuries. They were highly prized warhorses, but remain popular in today’s world for their good nature and handsome appearance, as well as their endurance and smooth gait.
There’s a whole world of horse breeds out there to explore! Discover and find out more information by checking out our horse breed guides.