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Published: November 12th 2016
The Pushkar Fair is a big draw for us because of the camels. That is probably not breaking news for anyone. But like the fairs at home, Pushkar also highlights the cattle industry of India and the horse industry. When we were not mingling with the camels and the camel herders, we found time to check out the horses and cattle.
There is no doubt the the horse population at Pushkar has grown rapidly since we were here 4 years ago. The high-spirited, beautiful Marwari horses were in demand this year. We saw them unloading horses until the day we left and the tented areas that housed the horses and their handlers kept swelling over the sand dunes. Each night we would walk back to Camp Bliss through the horse section of the fairgrounds and each night there would be a traffic jam of trucks lined up waiting to unload truck loads of horses.
The horses at Pushkar are beautiful beings. They are well cared for animals with shiny coats and the notorious ears that point inward. These hoses are used for riding, breeding and weddings. The all white horses are considered auspicious and used for weddings. Who needs
a white dress, when you can have a white horse for your wedding?!
Also like the fairs of home, it is quite clear which animals get the best quarters.
I remember as a child attending cattle shows with my family. Each ranch is assigned a spot in the barn where we tied and presented our cattle. We would bed the area with straw, set up our show boxes neatly and spend the rest of our time making sure the stalls were free of manure and perfectly raked. We hung signs that said "Shamrock Farms" so everyone knew where to find us. This was always a nice set-up and made practical sense. Our animals were spotless from our constant grooming and they were kept in environs that were nicer than some people's residencies.
But I remember looking over in the horse section of the fair grounds and the stalls were kept like 5 star hotels. The horse owners hung curtains, positioned silk plants around their animals and their show boxes were kept in rooms with walls and accoutrements.
So, as in America it is the same in India. The camels were kept in herds on the sand
dunes. No identified stalls or halters. No bedded stalls for sleeping. No feed for evening tie outs. The cattle of Pushkar were kept tied to strings in the sand that look a litle like our American tie-outs, but the surroundings are about as modest as the camels. Their food was piled on an empty sack laying on the ground.
The horses in Pushkar stay in tents and temporary buildings. They have pens with feeding pans and hay troughs. They sleep under canopies. Their owners have hospitality lounges within their compounds and some of the breeders even hang signs and provide brochures like we do at home.
So here in Pushkar, there is no horsing around when it comes to showcasing the beauty of the Marwari horses.
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