Tack n' Talk

Online Equestrian Resource

BREED SPOTLIGHT: The Kathiawari Horse of India

The ancient Kathiawari horse is thought to have been first bred in the 14th century by crossing native ponies, Arabian horses and other oriental breeds and is accepted throughout India as the purest and oldest of all the horse breeds. There is a legend that shipwrecked Arabian horses swam to shore and bred with local poines.  Others believe that during the reign of the Mughal emperors, they imported Arabians and other oriental breeds from the Mideast to India, and deliberately crossed them with local breeds to improve the stock.  The Kathi’s tribesmen and Rajput clan rulers used this horse as their warhorse, abandoning any animal which could not carry him at speed across miles of open dry land of Kathiawar with little food or water and they favored the mares because, unlike the Stallions, they could trust her to keep quiet!

It is only natural that the Kathiawar horses have great endurance and stamina, which is mainly due to their Arabian ancestry. Highly prized, they were originally bred by wealthy Kathiawar families who would name a strain according to their founation mare.  Today the government controlled stud at Junagadh breeds most horses where the bloodlines can be traced to Carls, Gulfaam, Ashwinikumar.

The Kathiawari breed averages 13 hands to 14-5 in height and the odd Stallion may grow to 14-5 hands to 15-2 hands in height. These stallions have great presence while the mares give an impression of elegant gentleness.

The Kathawaris’ most distinguishing characteristic is their ears. They are uncommonly large and mobile and turn in and touch at the tips. They are curved like the “sting of the scorpion”.

They are the most comfortable riding horses, with great stamina, their paces are light and free with an elevated trot capable of great extension. They can carry disproportionate weights whether jumping, racing or, in particular, over endurance distances where Pure and Part Bred Kathiawari excel against other breeds.

Today, the exotic beauty of the Kathiawari has been maintained as well as it’s proud carriage, gracefulness and distinctive head and unique ears.   This ancient breed is not only beautiful, tireless and high competitive, but also possess great personality.




  Cathy Whitley wrote @

I heard about these horses a few years ago when a friend of mine rode one in India and thought they were wonderful. Whenever her horse misbehaves, she threatens to trade him in for a Kathiawari

  tackandtalk wrote @

Thanks Cathy for your comment. Yes, these horses are nice. Just love their ears!

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