A rare breed, the Marwari horse is historically grounded in the folklore of India. With its distinctive curled ears, the Marwari was at one point on the verge of extinction. This horse breed has some nice qualities and has now gained some popularity, but is still bound primarily in the country of India.
History and Origins
The history of the Marwari horse is largely grounded in folklore. Originating in the Marwar region of India back when the native breeds were crossed with Arabians. According to legend, those Arabians may have arrived on Arabian ships that were shipwrecked off the coast. Back in the 1100s, the Marwari horse was bred by the Rathores.
In the 16th century, these horses were used as cavalry. Having a strong natural sense of direction and were known for carrying their riders back home after getting lost in the desert. The breed’s excellent hearing also helped to alert both horse and rider to potential danger.
The breed was on the verge of extinction in the 20th century, when the British occupiers of India preferred Thoroughbreds over the Marwari horse. With some dedicated breed enthusiasts, the breed was preserved. In 1995, Francesca Kelly founded a Marwari Bloodlines group to help preserve this breed worldwide. In 2000, she imported the first Marwari to the United States, and subsequently, 21 additional horses were exported from India. In 2006, India stopped granting exporting licenses.
Marwari Horse Breed Statistics
Height and Weight
The Marwari horse ranges in height from 14 – 16 hands tall, weighing in the range of 750 – 1,000 pounds.
Color and Markings
Bred in many different colors including bay, gray, chestnut, palomino, skewbald, and piebald. While gray horses are the most prized, piebald and skewbald horses are also heavily favored. Those that have white blazes with four white socks are believed to be lucky while horses of black in color are associated with death and darkness and thought to be unlucky.
Less slant of a shoulder than most breeds. Bone angle does not allow them to extend their stride like common breeds, made to pull their legs out of the desert sand. This is a gaited breed.
Unique Characteristics of the Marwari Horse
The biggest outstanding thing about this breed that is unique and immediately noticeable is it’s ears. They curve inward so much that the tips touch each other. The breed is still to this day bred as a desert horse.
Marwari Horse Temperament + Common Behavioral Issues
Spirited, brave, and loyal, they have also been known to be friendly and trainable. They are physically well-adapted to extracting their feet from the deep sand efficiently. Being thin-skinned allows them to bear thirst in extreme heat.
Grooming the Marwari Horse
With extremely thin skin, extra care in the spring and summer should take place. Providing fly protection and promptly treating fly bites can help to keep these horses more comfortable. Most owners allow the mane and tails of the Marwari to grow out naturally, providing extra care from grooming and detangling. Their short coat, as long as they are supported by nutrition and grooming, will naturally shine.
Nutrition for the Marwari Horse
The breed is very hardy, known to survive on very limited feed. Due to the rarity of the breed, there is not much known about the specific dietary needs.
Common Health Issues for the Marwari Horse
With the breed being so rare, there may not be any health issues widely recognized yet. They have been known to have tremendously strong and healthy hooves.
Common Uses + Talents
While used for many purposes, the Marwari is not seen much outside of India. Used mostly for ceremonial purposes and parades due to their beautiful presence. When crossed with a Thoroughbred, they are more versatile and well-suited for dressage and polo, due to their stamina and agility.
Facts About the Marwari Horse
The Marwari was originally only bred in the color black. It has since become more diverse, appearing in shades of chestnut, bay, palomino, and pinto.
Interestingly, some sources say that black Marwari horses are no longer desirable because they are thought to be ominous.
The Marwari breed’s characteristics that help them maneuver well in deep sand – straight shoulder bones which keep them from striding out – actually work against them when it comes to speed. Speed isn’t everything, however, and this trait makes them more comfortable to ride.
Other names the Marwari horse has been known for including the Marwadi or Malani breed.
Famous Marwari Horses
With the breed treasured entirely in India, there are little-known facts about champion and celebrity horses.
Is the Marwari Horse Right for You?
A comfortable gaited horse, anyone looking for a smooth ride would appreciate this breed. Those who find gaited horses beneficial for back problems as a rider would benefit from the Marwari. However, due to their scarcity outside of India, you will likely only be able to ride them there.
How to Adopt or Buy a Marwari Horse
While India continues to prohibit the exportation of the breed, simply finding one in the United States is very uncommon. Because of the breed’s scarcity, you will probably need to pay to have the horse shipped a great distance, too.
Marwari Horse FAQs
- How much does a Marwari horse cost?
A Marwari horse costs Rs. 3 lakhs and up, according to online sources. In American dollars, this would equal somewhere upwards of $4,200-4,300.
- How big do Marwari horses get?
Marwari horses grow to be 14 – 16 hands in height and 750 – 1,000 pounds.
- Where do Marwari horses come from?
This breed is native to the Marwari, or Jodphur, region of India.
- Are Marwari horses good for beginner riders?
Their qualities make them better suited for a more intermediate rider, though their temperament does make a great beginner mount.
- How rare is a Marwari horse?
The Marwari horse is an extremely rare and prized breed.
- Are Marwari horses gaited?
Yes, the Marwari horse is a gaited breed, allowing for smooth gaits for their riders.
While there is not much known about the Marwari breed due to them being mostly in India, they are fascinating. From their curved ears, easy temperament, and ability to be low maintenance due to being a desert horse, they are a rare horse worth bringing back from almost extinction.