The Gallops of India, being held for the first time in the country from March 2-9, here in Rajasthan, brought 70 riders from across the world to the desert state.
The earlier editions of the event were organised in Morocco in 2018 and in Oman in 2014.
The riders have come from 16 different nations including India, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxemburg, Norway, Oman, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, and the US to share their common love and passion for horse riding.
The ride covering a distance of 200 km started from the Shekhawati town of Mandawa on March 2 and witnessed the participation of professional as well as amateur riders from across ages and backgrounds.
The riders also included the cavalry members of India and Oman, the former Miss France as well as the 93-year-old Philippe Perrier from France.
The Gallops of India’s major objective is the promotion of the Marwari Horses – the indigenous breed of Rajasthan, said Angad Deo Mandawa, co-organizer of the event.
He said that Marwari horses are hot-blooded and are known for their aggression and speed. “So, they are ideal for this exemplary competitive endurance ride,” he said.
Sharing her experience of riding through the small towns of Shekhawati, Former Miss France Camille Cerf said that it is a fascinating and colourful experience.
Perrier said the experience of participating in the Gallops of India is quite different from the earlier editions held in Oman and Morocco.
The prime reason for this is the Marwari horses.
These horses are more intelligent than any other breed in the world, added Perrier. He also emphasized on the need for treating horses with utmost care and love and not think of them as a mere medium of transport.
Participants were riding for six hours every day covering a distance of 40 km. In between, there was a 30-minute halt for lunch and at night, they stayed in camps where folk music and dance programmes were organized.
The 200-km-long ride began from Mandawa and covered Alsisar, Mahendar, Bika Ki Dhani and Fatehpur before concluding at Mandawa. On 9 March, there will be a polo match at Mundota.