About Spiti Pony Horses
Spiti Ponies (also known as Chamurthi Ponies) are a gaited
pony from India. They are indigenous to the Pin Valley which is found in a
Buddhist tribal district called Spiti.
Spiti is a unique and isolated area located in the state of
Himachal Pradesh in north-western India, a high altitude desert which is closed
off from the rest of the country for 6 months of the year by snow on the high
passes which access this region. To the east lies Tibet, in the west is another
remote district often linked with Spiti, called Lahaul, to the north is the
famous high altitude area known as Ladakh, and to the south lie the foothills
of the Himalayas. Once the high passes are crossed, you enter a completely
different landscape. The land is a kind of moonscape with rushing, glacier-fed
rivers and streams, rocks of all different hues - red, ochre, purple, blue -
and of course the magnificent mountains of the Himalayan range. Most of the
valleys are above 12,000 feet. The entire region of Spiti has a population of
only about 10,000 people.
It is believed that they originally came from Tibet where,
for centuries, horses were a main stay for transportation and trading between
the two countries. They are similar to Bhutia Ponies and the native Tibetan
Pony, as these animals have been interbred for years so that many of the
individual characteristics have been lost, and are now all categorized as
"Indian Country Bred."
They are very strong, hardy, and easy to keep. They have great
stamina and endurance, are sure footed and strong. Grass and other vegetation
are sparse in their native area so they are fed barley which is a local staple.
They are about 12-13 hh at the withers. Their colors are
black, dun, or gray. Occasionally a brown or bay will be seen. Their heads can
be large although some have likened the Spiti Pony head to a Welsh Pony. They
have a large jaw. They have a barrel shaped abdominal area, well spring ribs,
strong hoofs that are round, not conical, in shape. Their hooves go unshod and
hold up well. Their coupling is short, with strong backs and necks, well
developed hind quarters, and wide chests. They have a low withers. Their
shoulders are straight and upright. The ponies are fast in their gaits and
cover lots of ground effortlessly and quickly. Some are cow hocked. They can be
ill tempered, but mostly they are amiable.
They pace, have a running walk much like the Tennessee
Walker, and they amble. They do not trot. These ponies are smooth and fast in
their gaits. They are an excellent riding pony. They are used for riding,
transportation, packing animals, and trekking.