Horse Breeds Series: Marwari Horse

The Marwari Horse is a breed that is native to the Marwari region of India and it is known for its upturned ears and its hardiness. It is descended from native ponies in India and it comes in almost every colour. This horse was originally used for war as a cavalry horse and later was used for hauling and light draft work.

This is a rare breed and it is difficult to get due to strict guidelines on exportation. However, since the early 2000s this breed has become available in small quantities. One of the most distinctive qualities of the horse is the unique lyre-shaped ears, which curve inwards towards each other and meet at the tips. They can be turned 180 degrees and they provide the horse with sharp hearing.

Marwari horses are hardy, tough, brave and beautiful. They adapt well to dressage because they are naturally competitive. Also, their hardy nature is ideal for endurance riding. These horses represent a long and rich tradition in India and their elegance is unmistakable.


The ancestors of the Marwari were brought to India by Muslim and Central-Asia invaders. The home of the Marwari is the desert kingdom of Marwar and from there the horse spread through the whole of Rajasthan. The name of the horse actually means “from the land of death.”

The fortunes of the Marwari horses began to change with the ascendancy of the British in India. The British Officers found the Marwari too hot tempered and not big enough, so they used Australian Whalers. When the Maharajas passed under British supremacy and lost their ability to keep an army, they started to copy the British ways and used Australian mounts instead of Marwari horses. This was a breakdown of tradition and the former kings of India were leaving behind a bit of their heritage.

Because the Marwari horse was a symbol of feudalism, many of the horses were killed or castrated and for decades the breed was neglected. The government of India had originally placed a ban on the export of indigenous types of horse breeds in 1952. This ban was lifted partially in 1999 and the first Marwari horse was imported into the USA in 2000. 21 horses were exported in the next 7 years, until the licenses were stopped in 2006 because the Indian government was worried that the native breeding populations were threatened. In 2006 a Marwari stallion was given to the Living Museum of the Horse in France. In the year 2008 the government of India began to grant licences for temporary exports of up to a year so that the horses could be exhibited in other countries.

The Marwari was eventually saved by its own people and the former noble families started to salvage a few animals for their own breeding programs. Many tourists horseback riding experiences have helped to revive the Marwari horse and Rajput culture as a whole. Now there are many breeders for this beautiful type of horse in Rajasthan and the Marwari population is growing – so that this gorgeous breed can be appreciated.


This horse has been bred to withstand the harsh climate of the desert in Rajasthan. This means that the Marwai is an animal with excellent stamina that can thrive on very little water and food. It is highly trained in the art of war and it is known for its fearlessness on a battlefield. The Marwari horse was able to stand up on its hind legs so that the rider would be able to kill an enemy who is riding on top of an elephant.

It is a very beautiful horse with an unbreakable spirit and a strong loyalty. Because it was bred for battle and the horse and the warrior riding it had to become one, the Marwari horse is said to have the ability to act on the thoughts of the rider. It is a very intuitive horse to ride that will be responsive to your commands.


This is a multi-talented horse that is capable of performing a number of tasks very well. The common tasks it performs are general riding, endurance riding, mounted athletics, jumping and much more. Because it has such a diverse range of abilities, this type of horse is ideal for the needs of many different types of horse owners. These horses are also used in safari and trail riding, as it is native to Rajasthan and is suited to long rides in the dry and hot region.

Because this horse is a hot-blooded equine, it is more spirited and unruly than other cold-blooded or warm-blooded breeds. This means that they will be energetic, high strung and sometimes difficult to control. They are only suitable for owners with a lot of experience, but if you know how to handle them and perform the right training they will be excellent partners.

Sometimes the Marwaris are crossed with thoroughbreds in order to produce a larger horse that is more versatile. Also, Marwari are sometimes used to play polo – in some situations they play against Thoroughbreds.

Within the Marwari breed there is a special strain that is known as the Natchni. This horse is believed by the people of Rajasthan to have a natural inclination to dancing, so it is decorated in jewels, silver charms and bells and it is trained to perform leaping and prancing movements at ceremonies such as weddings and festivals. The Natchni strain is extinct today, but horses that are trained to dance are still prized in rural India.

Health Concerns

This horse is generally a healthy breed and there are no specific issues for the animal’s health. It is important to make sure that the horse maintains a healthy and active lifestyle and is subject to regular veterinary check-ups.

The Marwari is a horse that is used to a hot environment, so if they are kept in a cold weather climate they will need some time to acclimate.

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