TraveLegend recently visted The Marwari Horse Endurance Championship 2018, which was held in Lonavala, Maharashtra on 28 th January 2018, had all the excitement that was promised and more. Over fifty horses took to the field in three categories –20km, 40km and 60 kms courses. This annual event is organized by the Indigenous Horse Owners Association (Maharashtra) and attracts riders not only from Maharashtra, but other states too. Held on 28th January (Sunday), the event started at the first stroke of daybreak giving the horses and riders enough cool weather to set a good pace and show what they are capable of. And they did. The energy was unrelenting and the challenge immense, given the uneven nature of the terrain and the difficulty of the cross-country course.
Twenty kilometres on a horse, especially while going cross-country, is a long distance. Still the top riders achieved timings of less than an hour in the 20 kms course event. And not just the seniors, the under-16 riders showed great endurance and skill and displayed what proper training can do. The 40 km and 60 km participants did repeat laps of the well-marked cross-country course with half-hour cooling periods in between each lap for both the horses and riders to recover energy.
Speaking at the prize distribution function, Col.R.K.Swain, Secretary General, Equestrian Federation of India (EFI) who was the Chief Guest, said, “IHOA (Mah)’s Endurance Championship is definitely one for the equestrian calendar in India and will surely grow to attract many more participants in the coming years. The Federation is happy with the professionalism shown by the Association in the conduct of the event.”
The way Endurance Equestrian works is that it’s not just the top finishers who win. The
horses have to finish within a certain variance of the heartbeat. Heartbeats are first
measured at the end of the finish-line, and then again after the horses have finished their
cooling period. The event also has proper vet checks to ensure the horses are injury-free
after the run. All this is taken into account when selecting the winners.
The Association conducts the Endurance Championship as per international norms and
practices. Horses are well-taken care of with stable facilities, helpers and medical teams
with ambulances available at all times. As per standard rules, all horses are certified fit
before they can participate. The judging team is well-trained and overseen by Colonel
Ashok Kumar Yadav (FEI 2-star international judge) from the Equestrian Federation
This is a fascinating sport that is fast catching on. Almost all riders participate on Marwari
horses, which are one of India’s finest indigenous breeds and are known for their stamina
and ability to run long distances. The Association is preserving and promoting these sturdy animals through the sport. Part of the work that the Association does is to ensure breeding standards for the Marwari horses, care of animals, training of professionals and
rehabilitation of abandoned horses.
The Endurance Championship promotes equestrian sport in our country. But it’s not an
exhibition event, and participants have to work really hard to gain glory. Winners took
home prizes along with their trophies. The spectators took home some cherished