History of Marwari Horse
In the arid zone of India in Rajasthan in Marwar region a horse breed exists which is known as the ‘Marwari’, an elegant medium height, strong horse with an outstanding track record of bravery and loyalty in the battle fields of medieval periods. Famous for traveling long distances, they have strong feet and hooves.
The Marwari has his home in the area called Malani, which is part of Barmer district of Marwar, in the villages Nagar, Gudha, Jasol, Sindhari, Bakhasar, Posana, Badgaon, Daspan and some areas of Sanchore Tehsil of Jalore District and some area of North Gujrat. These areas are said to be the nucleus of the Marwari Horse.
Picture – Maharajah Ajit Singh of Jodhpur (1678-1724)
The bardic literature of Rajasthan speaks very highly of Marwari Horses, of their heroic exploits, leaping on to Howdahs of elephants and crossing over high barrier walls of cities and forts. A few of the famous horses; “Chetak” of Maharana Pratap, “Udal” of Amar Singh Rathore, who leapt over the walls of Agra fort, “Kesar Kalmi” of Pabuji, and Veer Durga Das’ s “Arbud” are few of the Historic horses of Indian history.
The rulers of Indian states were found of good horses and they had very precious animals with them. The characteristics were precisely maintained. The Thakurs also had horses and maintained the true to the class and sub class of the breed. This how the Marwari breed was preserved. The breed had biggest set back during the British rule in India when they brought the English Thoroughtbreds and the Australian horses in India. The Indigenous Marwari horse suffered and lost many of it’s good blood horses.
Picture – Maharana Ari Singh of Mewar decorated equestrian that depicts status of this patron.
After Independence of India the Jagir system was abolished. The Jagirdars were in no position to maintain the Marwari horses and hence the good Marwari horses started disappearing.
Picture – Maharana Jawan Singh riding horse.
Due to Ceiling there was no land available for grazing of horses and this was another blow to the Marwari Horse’s survival. After world war I the period of automobiles and machines came in, horse carriages were replaced by automobiles and bullocks by tractors. The road network facilitated their development and the decline of the horse and bullock use. Gradually good stock disappeared. It was the personal interest of some breeders and horse lovers who maintained the bloodlines of good stock. The limited use of horses was for travel from one village to another and the major uses was ceremonial and religious.
An equestrian portrait of Thakur Jaivan Singh of Raas, 1800-1820
Portrait of Durgadas Rathore Jodhpur, Marwar 1890
Portrait of Singhji Motiram ji painting by Chitar Kiritaj Bhati Jodhpur Marwar 1858/1802
Pictured above: Maharana Sarup Singh Inspects a Prize Stallion
Artist: Tara (Indian, active 1836–1870) Date: 1845–46
The artist Tara, who worked primarily during the reign of Sarup Singh (r. 1842–61), maharana of Mewar, often employed formal perspectival devices to bring structure to his large-scale paintings. In this grand picture of a tented camp, we see the maharana being presented with a prize stallion, perhaps a gift to mark his birthday. The inscription on the reverse refers to the horse by name but makes no reference to the event being celebrated. The ruler and his courtiers, along with a troupe of female singers and dancers with musicians, all wear pink dress—even the attendants have donned pink turbans, and the stallion and hunting dog pink blankets—a curious feature that must reflect this special but unidentified occasion. Tara’s work stands at the threshold between late Indian painting traditions and early experiments in photography. Both of his two sons trained under him as painters, and the younger, Mohanlal, became a well-known photographer in the 1870s. For more details here