All About The Marwari Horse Breed & What Makes Them So Unique


The Marwari horse is one of the most famous horse breeds in the world and this is all because of their unique ears that curve inward. This breed originated in India and surprisingly there are only over 30 of these horses outside of India. Marwari horses, once used as cavalry horses, are seen in a variety of disciplines and styles of riding, but today the breed is primarily used for pleasure riding.

What Is The Marwari Horse?

The Marwari horse is one of the most unique and identifiable horse breeds in the world. Known for their curved ears and fiery temperament, this hotblood has incredible looks that can make anyone look twice.

Marwari horses are small and usually stand at a height too small to be considered a true horse. On average, Marwaris only reach to be about 14.3 hands high. Though these horses are small, they are never considered a pony breed but instead are just known as small horses.

Unlike most breeds, Marwari horses aren’t typically found as grey. This breed can be seen in black, bay, and chestnut, but can also come in pinto as either skewbald or piebald. Any white markings on the face and legs are acceptable in this breed.

Fun Fact: Did you know that a Marwari horse with four white leg markings and a blaze is considered lucky? A Marwari horse with these markings is prized.

The History Of The Marwari Horse

The Marwari horse came from the state of Marwari in Northwest India near the border between India and Afghanistan. The exact history of the breed is not known, but it is believed that they have a similar history to their cousin the Kathiawari.

In the 12th century, the Marwari was the choice warrior horse of the Rathores, the rulers of Marwar. These horses were the top choice for warrior horses for a number of reasons, one being its reputation for being the finest and bravest mount in the world. There are even stories of the Marwari horses guarding their riders if they fell off during battle, as well as stories of the Marwari carrying their riders to safety even when the horse itself was injured.

This breed was so prized that it is portrayed in a number of legends all of which discuss the breeds loyalty, bravery, and nobility. This breed left an incredible impact on the Indian people.

The breed’s outstanding reputation led them to be the top horse of choice for most of the Imperial Calvary in the mid-1500s and early 1600s under the Moghul Emperor Akbar. The Imperial Cavalry was made up of about 50,000 horses and most of those were Marwari horses.

Marwaris continued to be a popular horse breed up until World War I. After WWI however, the breed nearly became extinct.

Today, there is a continuous effort to bring the breed back to its thriving numbers. The Indian government and the Marwari Breeder’s Association are both making great efforts to keep this horse around.

What Makes The Marwari Unique? How To Identify The Marwari

The Marwari’s Ears

The ears of the Marwari are the most identifiable trait this breed carries. The horse’s ears turn noticeably inward with the ear tips nearly touching where they curve into each other.

The Marwari’s Overall Appearance

The Marwari has a noticeable Arabian influence which is seen in its conformation, temperament, head/neck carriage, and head shape.

What The Marwari Excels In

Battle or Cavalry

The Marwari horse has been the top cavalry horse of India for centuries. This breed, though no longer used in battle, greatly excelled as a cavalry horse and battle horse thanks to its loyalty, bravery, nobility, and hardiness.

As a cavalry horse, the Marwari would carry its rider into battle where it would charge the enemy. In cavalry warfare, riders would use swords to fight their opponent as well as shoot guns to get at the enemy from a distance.

Pleasure Riding

This breed is mainly seen as a pleasure riding horse meaning it is used just to be ridden. They are commonly used as travel companions and help their owners and handlers get from point A to point B.

Marwaris are usually seen ridden in an English saddle, though western saddles are seen occasionally as well. The breed can carry a rider for long distances and their great stamina and hardiness makes them the ideal travel and riding companion.

Packing

This breed, when used in traveling can also be used as a pack horse. Because of the horse’s naturally dense bones of their legs, their amazing stamina, and impressing hardiness, they can carry heavier loads than most horses can.

In India, when moving things from one place to another, it is not uncommon to see one Marwari carrying a rider, with another following carrying a pack.

Showjumping

Showjumping is a sport that is only growing in popularity in the country of India, so the Marwari has been introduced into this sport. Some Marwaris make excellent jumping horses, but it has been found that better jumping prospects are created when the Marwari is crossed with the Thoroughbred or other breeds already known to have great jumping abilities.

Polo

Polo is a sport that involves teams of horses and riders. Riders carry a stick known as a mallet and typically two teams will play against each other.

The Marwari is growing in popularity as a breed used in polo in the country of India.

Traditional Indian Festival Performances

Whether there is a festival, wedding, or holiday taking place in India, there is bound to be at least one Marwari horse present.

When a Marwari is used to perform at a festival or celebration, it is decorated in bells, colorful fabric, and silver. Once decorated, the handler of the horse will then command the horse to do jumps, prance, rear up, and do a variety of other tricks to impress the crowd. Because the horse already looks good on its own, decorations on the horse’s body and tack make it look even better. The Marwari makes a great performance horse because of its responsiveness and willingness to please its owner or handler.

How Long Do Marwari Horses Live?

Like the average horse, Marwari horses live to be between 25 and 30 years old. This is a great lifespan for a horse and shows that overall this is a healthy breed if it can live to be this age on average.

FAQs On Marwari Horses

Are Marwari horses expensive?

No, typically a Marwari horse only costs about $4,000 to $5,000 (USD). The only issue is that the Marwari can only stay in India so even if a horse is affordable, removing it from India is extremely difficult.

Where did Marwari horses get their name?

Marwari horses get there name from the Marwari region in India. The breed is also sometimes known as Malani horses or Marwadi horses. There name could have also descended from the rulers of Marwar who used these horse for battle as calvary horses.

What colors and patterns can Marwari horses be or have?

Marwari horses can be:

  • Black
  • Bay
  • Chestnut
  • Piebald
  • Skewbald
  • Overo
  • Tovero
  • Tobiano

these horses are not found in gray which is strange as they can come in nearly every other color.

Why are there so few Marwari horses outside of India?

In India, there are restrictions on the Marwari breed so it is nearly impossible to get one of these horses outside of India. One of the only Marwari horses in Europe got there because it was gifted to a live museum or zoo.

There are only about 20 Marwari horses in the United States today. this is due to the restrictions put on the breed by the Indian government.

Hailey Johnson

Horses have been my passion ever since I can remember. At school, I was known as that weird horse girl, and I would read horse encyclopedias for fun. Over the years since those days, I have only learned more. My experiences with horses of a variety of breeds have taught me a lot. Now I want to share what I know with you!

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