September 9: Rajasthan’s Maharana Pratap was a legendary warrior who fought many battles astride his favourite horse, Chetak. The beautiful Chetak was loyal, brave and extremely fast. Chetak is probably one of the few animals famous in history for their legendary qualities.
Chetak belonged to a special breed of horses called Marwari or Rajasthani. These horses are known for their loyalty and battle-worthiness. They are handsome and tall and have long flowing manes.
The fame of these horses has spread far and wide. Now, even the Americans want them. ‘The Times of India’ in an article reported that six of these colts or young horses were recently exported to the United States of America.
But it appears that US immigration laws for Indian horses are as tough, if not tougher, as those for Indian people. Immigration laws are meant to screen the thousands of people who want to become citizens of the United States. Only the best candidates get selected. But the wait is often long. So it was for the colts too. They had to wait for three years before they could join an American stable.
One reason why the colts finally got the green signal (and the green card allowing them to be in the United States) was because the attraction they held for an American diplomat’s daughter, Francesca Kelly.
Francesca fell in love with the Marwari horses when she came to India on a holiday and had the opportunity to ride one of them. She felt that the Marwari breed was no less than the legendary Arab horses and wanted other horse lovers to experience them.
Her initial efforts to take some of the horses with her failed because she was told European countries did not accept Indian horses because it was against government policies.
Finally, the US authorities said they’d accept these horses. But the horses had to be first immunised against a virus, called Equine Piroplosomis, first.
A series of stringent tests were carried out. Only then were the colts allowed to go to America.