Spiti Horse

The Spiti horses are spread in Spiti Valley and adjoining areas of the Kullu and Kinnaur divisions of Himachal Pradesh. These horses are commonly known as Chamurti. In terms of height, they are smaller. The Spiti horses have two strains: Spiti Pure and Konimare. The Konimare ones are relatively taller. They are competent enough to thrive in cold regions under unfavorable conditions such as scarcity of food, long journeys at high altitudes, and low temperatures. These horses are used as pack animals and for riding.

Background of Spiti Horse

The Spiti horse inhabits and breeds in its native upland Spiti plateau or woods. Here these horses are left on their own except when required for work. Their descendants, for the most part, are the consequence of whichever stallion dominates the mares in the herd at the time. Careful breeding with it the prospect of keeping stray non-Spiti mares and stallions out of the bloodline may be accomplished by some of the Buddist gompas in Spiti. It was here that these horses are maintained to carry and ride.

A stallion is also kept there. Some individual owners may also select either the stallion or mare according to their choice. This is done to endeavor to have the kind of foal they wish for, otherwise, they have to make a move to the Himachal Pradesh Animal Husbandry Department’s Breeding station at Lari District Lahaul and Spiti and secondly to Indian Army, 30 km from Leh-Ladakh.

Physical Characteristics of Spiti Horse

The body of the Spiti horse is strong and thickset. The horse is sure-footed and up to weight. The head of this horse is intelligent, set on a thick and short neck. The face of the horse is convex. Its ears are erect and its eyes are black. The back it possesses is strong, long, and straight. It has well-built hindquarters and strapping shoulders. The horse has a long mane and its tail is straight. The legs are short with plenty of bone. They are covered with coarse long hair. The feet are round and hard.

Height of Spiti Horse

The Spiti horse is short in height. It grows to a height of 12 hands high.

Body Color of Spiti Horse

The chief body color of the Spiti horse is usually gray or completely white. This body color is followed by black flay bone (having black spots on the white body), bay, black and brown color.

The temperament of Spiti Horse

The Spiti horse is intelligent, alert, and a tireless worker. It is not of a good disposition always.

Uses of Spiti Horse

Horsemen and traders of Spiti have made extensive use of the Spiti horse. These horses were used to carry commodities between India and Tibet. When the Chinese invaded Tibet and the border with India was subsequently closed; this activity met with an end. Today Spiti horses are chiefly traded for pashmina wool, jewelry, and rugs and with the Changpa nomads. These nomadic people inhabit the Chang-tang that part of the Tibetian plateau which stretches into eastern Ladakh. The Indian Army also used these horses on mountain tracts that are unapproachable to motor vehicles.

The Spiti horses are bred in the high ranges of the Himalayas. They do not do well in the heat of the plains. They are used as pack ponies on the unnerving mountain passes and are prized by their principal breeders- the Kanyats, for whom they provide one of the major sources of income in trade with neighboring states. Its relationship to the ponies of Tibet is obvious from its appearance. All in all, this is a powerful breed that serves religiously.

See more: Tersky Horse


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