Since 1992 the Chetak Horse Society has held the Haldeighati Horse Fair in Rajsamand India. The annual fair pays tribute to, Chetak, the much adored WARHorse of the Majarana Pratap ruler of Mewar in the late 1500s. This year’s event was held January 19th. Prizes were awarded to owners of winning horses at dressage, jumping and halter. ‘Raj Nagina’ a Marwari breed won the prize for the best overall horse.
You maybe wondering – who is this Chetak horse and what did this horse do to inspired such festivities?
Chetak was of the Kathiawari breed, an indigenous breed of West India that survives today. The breed developed as Mongolian and Arabian genes were introduced to the native herd. The horses are typically chestnut but maybe any color except black. India’s nobility cultivated specific lineages carefully bred for the cavalry. The horses were able to run long distances over difficult terrain on minimal forage. Kathiawari horses were much sought after for their loyal and brave characteristics.
Chetak’s infamy was set in motion during the Battle of Haldighati in 1576. Maharana Pratap rode Chetak into battle where his forces were badly outnumbered. As the battle waned Pratap decided to bolster his troops morale and kill the enemy commander, Man Singh. Hacking his way through the battlefield, he reached Man Singh’s mount, a large elephant. Chetak reared up planting his hooves on the elephant’s forehead. Pratap threw his lance but killed the elephant’s driver instead of the commander. During the ensuing mele, Chetak’s legs were injured but he stood on. When Pratap turned about to flee, Chetak took off. They ran several kilometers from the battlefield to a broad river. Chetak leaped across the river but collapsed on the other side. Folklore says Pratap stayed by Chetak’s side until the very end.
Later Pratap returned to the spot where Chetak fell erecting a monument in the horses honor. It stands today. Chetak has been immortalized in poetry and ballads as the brave WARHorse who saved his master enabling him to live and fight another day. And next year horse lovers in India will meet again to show their cherished horses in honor of the great WARHorse, Chetak.
Edited from the Following Resources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathiawari, http://spiceofindia.blogspot.com/2007/11/fair-in-honour-of-horse-haldighati-fair.html, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/horse-fair-a-tribute-to-chetak/articleshow/56674274.cms