The Mystical Marwari, the Other Desert Horse

A Westerner tries to help save a rare East Indian breed facing extinction due to political and cultural conflicts in its homeland.

Photo by Manusharma

by Kristin Berkery

Marwari horses with their unique ears. Photo by Donna DeMari

Photos and videos of the rare and exotic Marwari horse are like a time machine, transporting the viewer to an era of ancient Eastern traditions and costumes. Bred since the 13th century by Rajput warriors, the Marwari was first used to conquer northwest India, a desert area now known as Rajasthan.

To survive the arid climate and fierce combat, Marwari horses were bred to be tough, fiery, and courageous, but they can also be described as temperamental and a challenge to handle. They have many similarities to the original desertbred Arabians with their spirited temperaments, physical endurance, arched necks, dry facial features, fine legs, and proud bearing. Not surprisingly, they share common ancestors with Arabians, which were also bred for fierce battle and survival in a desert setting.