Pune, 9th January 2024: Known to be an integral part of the cavalry of the Maratha army in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Bhimthadi Horses has got the status of an independent breed. A gazette notification to this effect will soon be issued paving the way for the revival of this indigenous breed of horses. This was announced during a joint Press Conference hosted in the city today by Ranjeet Pawar, Founder of the All India Bhimthadi Horse Association and Baramati Ashwapaga, and Dr. Sharad Mehta, Head of the Regional Station of National Research Centre of Equines, Bikaner, Rajasthan.
Speaking on the occasion, Ranjeet Pawar said, “This breed of horse originated on the banks of Bhima River in the state of Maharashtra. This is why the breed is called the ‘Bhimthadi Horse’ as ‘Bhima’ is the name of the river and ‘thadi’ means a riverbank. This breed is found on the plateau of Deccan including some parts of Pune, Satara, Solapur, Ahmednagar, Sangali and Kolhapur districts. Historically, it has been part of the Cavalry of the Maratha army and was also used as the pack horse of the Maratha Confederacy. Thus, the breed has made significant contributions in establishing the Maratha empire.”
“Unfortunately, this indigenous breed was not part of the list of recognized breeds of India and thus we decided to make an effort to give this breed its due recognition. With the support of the Agricultural Development Trust (ADT), Baramati a dedicated team was formed in association with the National Research Centre for Equines, Bikaner. Together they fulfilled the administrative and scientific requirements for the Bhimthadi breed to be recognized. A delegation of scientists led by Dr. Sharad Mehta visited Baramati and surrounding areas where they interacted with the local farmers and horse keepers to understand the hardiness and utility of this breed”, Pawar added.
Dr. Sharad Mehta said, “Blood samples of over 1000 Bhimthadi Horses were collected and were tested at the National Research Centre on Equines, Bikaner. DNA testing of over 500 samples was done to ensure that this is truly an independent breed and does not share its DNA with any of the established breeds in India. The entire process took about 3 years. Out of 66 applications received for getting the recognition 8 have been approved by the committee and Bhimthadi Horse is one of them. The gazette notification is expected in a month’s time from now.”
Bhimthadi Horses were approved for the registration as a new breed during the 11th meeting of the Breed Registration Committee of ICAR held at NASC Complex, New Delhi in December 2023. The meeting was chaired by Dr. J. K. Jena, Deputy Director General (Animal Sciences), ICAR.
“As per the government records the current population of Bhimthadi horses in India is 5134. Other horse breeds which already have the recognition include breeds like Manipuri, Spiti, Bhutia, Marwari, Kathiawari, K-Sindhi and Zanskari”, Dr. Mehta informed.
“Now with due recognition in place, we plan to introduce Bhimthadi horses in related sports like endurance and polo. Breed shows and educational workshops would be conducted through the state to retain the breed characteristics and to improve the breeding practices of this Bhimthadi breed of horses. The first-ever official show of Bhimthadi Horses shall be held at Baramati at the Krushik Agricultural Fair on January 20th and 21st”, Ranjeet Pawar concluded.