|First Posted: July 7, 2009|
Sep 24, 2010
Kathiawari Horse A Gaited Breed
The Kathiawari is a breed of horse from India, specifically originating in the Kathiawar peninsula.
By tradition, the Kathiawari is thought to have been first bred in the 14th century, crossing native ponies, Arabian horses, and other oriental breeds. There is a legend that shipwrecked Arabian horses swam to shore and bred with local ponies. Others believe that Arabians and other oriental breeds were shipped to India during the reign of the Mughal emperors and deliberately crossed with local breeds.
Kathiawar horses have great endurance and stamina, due to their Arabian ancestry. Highly prized, they were originally bred by wealthy Kathiawar families who would name a strain according to their foundation mare. Today, however, the government-controlled stud at Junagadh breeds most horses.
The horses, although small, are not ponies. They are between 14.2 and 15 hands high. They can be dun, chestnut, bay, tobiano pinto, and sabino pinto and any of the cream dilutions, including palomino, buckskin, cremello, perlino, and smoky cream. roan, champagne, frame overo, splashed white, and the Leopard spotting pattern are not found in the breed.
The Kathiawari is similar in appearance to the Marwari, with extremely turned-in ears that are somewhat larger than those of an ordinary horse and very mobile. Their ears curl in and touch together at the tips. They have fine heads attached to a graceful neck. The build is slim and wiry, with a narrow but deep chest. The shoulders are moderately sloping, the back is long, and the croup sloping. The tail is set and carried high. Although the legs are slim, they are strong, and the hooves are tough. The horses usually have hocks that turn slightly inward.
The horses are tough and able to live on smaller quantities of fodder than many other breeds. Although sometimes unpredictable, they generally have a quiet temperament. Many have a natural ability to pace, possibly from the influence of the breeds of Central Asia.
Today, the horses are used for mounted police work by the Gujarat division. They are also used in the equestrian game of tent pegging.
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