I heard the fast approaching thunder of hooves galloping down the dusty sand track of the desert coming towards me. As the golden dust settled, I saw the gleaming coats of half a dozen robust Marwari horses as they stood tall proudly, fidgeting around rearing to go at the slightest encouragement. Yes, this is Rajasthan, the land of Kings, the land of Royalty where pride meant riding a horse as easily as breathing, where Queens knew how to ride like warriors; here legends abound of tales of courage, sacrifice and valour. And the Marwari horses epitomises these values.
The Marwari horses have a centuries’ long history of wars, races and polo World Cups. Apparently originating from the Marwar region of Rajasthan in North India, they implemented strict breeding methods destined to promote purity and hardiness from the 12th century onwards. Unfortunately the Marwari breed deteriorated considerably due to negligence during the British rule. However in free democratic India, the Marwari horses have been resurrected substantially to its past glory.
Standing proud at an average height of around 163cms, Marwari horses are characterised typically with their inward turned ear tips, slender neck, deep chest and a long back. They may have a nervous and unpredictable air about them, which makes them a little bit of a challenge even for seasoned riders to master such horses. That is what makes them rather interesting since once mastered, they are quick off the blocks and make easy and fast turns. Elegant in their looks they have a naturally ambling gait. It is such a pleasure riding a Marwari once you get to know them. They are the Rolls Royces of horses!
Rajasthan, the home state of medieval wars, pride and fine horses have developed many wonderful stables to keep their traditions and culture alive and to satisfy your love of horses and your hunger for riding them. The region of Shekhawati, 300 kilometres west of Delhi, has several stables that will bring out the best in your as a rider. 60 kilometres south of the city of Jodhpur in Rajasthan, off the main highway, at a little known erstwhile principality named Rohet, do you find some beautiful Marwari horses in a well-maintained stable. And to the South of Rajasthan, at a relatively unknown village called Bijaipur, you can find a stable with well groomed Marwari horses at a picturesque locale with beautiful hills, slow flowing streams to make your riding even more qualitative and enjoyable. You may look at some of the videos here.
Maintaining horses is an expensive affair in today’s age and it is indeed a luxury in Rajasthan and in India. And these stables in Rajasthan are doing an excellent job in the breeding and upkeep of such magnificent and rare horses. And they do it with the help of renting their horses for rides in the region. And we help them by trying to promote this as an adventure and leisure sport. If you are planning to trip to India or doing a North India Tour and you have horse riding in mind, do get in touch with Maavalan. They are experts in making itineraries and they can design an excellent itinerary around your needs.
The author is an amateur horse rider and has been riding horses all over India for the past decade.
Text: Krishnendu KES.
Photography: Krishnendu KES & Ms Urmila GARGA