French veteran rider gives Marwari horses thumbs up

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As the sun goes down, 93-year-old French horse rider Philippe Perrier blows cool air, exchanges whispers as he touches his sharp nose with the face of a Marwari horse, before calling it a day.

Philippe is one of the oldest riders at the third edition of Gallops - an endurance ride being held for the first time in the sand bed of Mandawa in Rajasthan.

Philippe, a horse rider for the last eight decades, has not only mastered his passion but also passed on his love for riding to his four succeeding generations. He shared his experience of riding a Marwari horse in Rajasthan, “Participating in Gallops of India is because of the Marwari horses. These horses are more intelligent than any other breed in the world.” 

Philippe, who knows the art of whispering to horses through nose, claimed that Marwari horses are the most hardy he has come across till now. “We need to treat horses with utmost care and love and not think of them as a mere medium of transport,” added Philippe, who is the oldest among the 70 riders from 14 different nations participating in ‘Gallops,’ held for the first time in India.

The endurance ride began from the Shekhawati town of Mandawa on March 2 and concluded on March 8. The ride witnessed the participation of professional as well as amateur riders across ages and backgrounds – the cavalry members of India and Oman, former Miss France as well.

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 to ride in the living desert of Rajasthan. “The terrain is diverse and one gets to witness a variety of fauna on the way. Meeting the people of rural areas is also an enriching element to the whole ride,” Camille said.

An important feature of Gallops of India is the promotion of the Marwari horses – the indigenous breed of Rajasthan. Explaining about the horses, co-organiser of the event, Angad Deo Mandawa said that Marwari horses are hot-blooded and are known for their aggression and speed. Therefore, they are ideal for this exemplary competitive endurance ride.

From last one week, the participants have been riding for 6 hours a day, covering a distance of 40 kilometres. In between, they halt for a 30-minute lunch break and at night they stay in camps where folk music and dance is organised.

 The over 200-km ride began from Mandawa and covered Alsisar, Mahendar, Bika Ki Dhani and Fatehpur and concluded at Mandawa on Friday.

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French veteran rider gives Marwari horses thumbs up

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