Shimla: With constant efforts, the Himachal Pradesh government says that it has managed to conserve the endangered Chamurthi horse species known as the 'ship of the cold desert'.
Being a sure-footed animal, it is mainly used for transporting goods in the Himalayas. The Chamurthi horse traces its origin to the Tibet region. In India, it is bred in the villages of Himachal Pradesh bordering China. For its conservation, the Animal Husbandry Department set up a breeding farm in 2002 in Lari in Spiti.
The farm has been divided into three units with capacity to accommodate 20 horses in each unit and one stallion shed with a capacity of four horses. Animal Husbandry Minister Virender Kanwar said with the establishment of a breeding farm, the population of Chamurthi horses has increased to nearly 4,000.
Twenty-five veterinarians and support staff have been involved in their conservation at the farm. Sixty-seven horses have been reared at the farm. Out of them, 23 are stallions and 44 broodmares. A majority of yearlings are sold to the locals through auction.
The average market value of one full-grown horse of four-five years of age is Rs 30,000-40,000. The highest cost was recorded three years ago at Rs 75,000. On an average, a maximum of 15 mares conceive in a year. The stallions from the state are ranked among the best for producing classic horses. The success and popularity of Chamurthi horses can be easily measured by various awards won during fairs and exhibitions over time.