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Horse Breeds
First Posted July 25, 2009
Sep 30, 2010

Chamurthi or Spiti Pony A Gaited Breed

Chamurthi or Spiti Pony

3-D Flags
Country of Origin: Himachal Pradesh in north-western India

There are four recognized indigenous horse breeds in India. the Chamurthi or Spiti is one of them. It is long thought that originally they came from Tibet as for centuries horses were a main stay for transportation and much trading went on between the two countries. They are similar to the Bhutia Pony and the native Tibetan Pony, as these animals have been interbred for years so that many of the individual characteristics have been lost, and are now all categorized as "Indian Country Bred." "The Chamurthi or Spiti Pony is indigenous to the Pin Valley which is found in a Buddhist tribal district called Spiti. Located in the state of Himachal Pradesh in north-western India, Spiti is a unique and isolated area - a high altitude desert which is closed off from the rest of the country for 6 months of the year by snow on the high passes which access this region. To the east lies Tibet, in the west is another remote district often linked with Spiti, called Lahaul, to the north is the famous high altitude area known as Ladakh, and to the south lie the foothills of the Himalayas. Once the high passes are crossed, you enter a completely different landscape. The land is a kind of moonscape with rushing, glacier-fed rivers and streams, rocks of all different hues - red, ochre, purple, blue - and of course the magnificent mountains of the Himalayan range. Most of the valleys are above 12,000 feet. The entire region of Spiti has a population of only about 10,000 people...." Chamurthi - Spiti Pony

Physical Characteristics

The Chamurthis or Spiti Pony is very strong, hardy, an easy keeper, has great stamina and endurance, is sure footed and strong. Grass and other vegetation is sparse in their native area so they are fed barley which is a local staple. They are about 12-13 hh at the withers. Their colors are black, dun or gray. Occassionally a brown or bay will be seen. Their heads can be large although some have likened the Spiti Pony head to a Welsh Pony. The Spiti Pony often has a large jaw. They have a barrel shaped abdominal area, well spring ribs, strong hoofs that are round, not conical, in shape. Their hooves go unshod and hold up well. Their coupling is short, with strong backs and necks, well developed hind quarters, and wide chests. They have a low withers. Their shoulders are straight and upright. The ponies are fast in their gaits and cover lots of ground effortlessly and quickly. Some are cow hocked. They can be ill tempered, but mostly they are amiable. They are suited to mountainous climate and terrain and do not do well in humidity and heat. They are from the Himalayan region of India!


The Chamurthi or Spiti Pony is a gaited pony. They pace, have a running walk much like the Tennessee Walker, and they amble. They do not trot. These ponies are smooth and fast in their gaits. They are an excellent riding pony.


Riding, transportation, packing animals and trekking animals.

For More Information:

Horses of India
About the Spiti Pony
Chamurthi - Spiti Pony
National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources, Karnal 132001, India - Spiti Pony (An Excellent Site)
Zanskari Horses and Chamurthi/Gaited Breeds

Horse Breeds