With ears so curved that the tips touch, the Malware has a distinctive appearance. This breed’s history spans multiple centuries and today, the Malware remains a rare but prized horse.
They had a strong natural sense of direction and were known for carrying their riders back home after getting lost in the desert. The breed’s excellent hearing also helped to alert both horse and rider to potential danger.
Breed numbers plummeted, and British occupiers of India preferred Thoroughbreds over the Malware horse. Maharajah Maid Singh was among the first to step in and advocate for these horses, and his grandson continued on his efforts.
In 1995, Francesca Kelly founded a Malware Bloodlines group to help preserve this breed worldwide. In 2000, she imported the first Malware to the United States, and subsequently, 21 additional horses were exported from India.
The Malware Horse Society of India created a stud book and registration process for the breed in 2009, helping to evaluate individual horses according to breed standards and re-establishing the quality that had been emphasized by the Ratholes so many centuries before. Breeding of the Malware continues, but you’re much more likely to find these horses in India than in other locations.
These horses are bred in many colors, including bay, gray, chestnut, palomino, skewbald, and piebald. The Malware was very much bred to be a desert horse, and those characteristics are still present in the modern breed.
This physical trait allows the Malware to easily pull its legs up and out of deep desert sand. Because of this bone angle, Mercaris can’t extend their stride as much as other breeds, so they’re naturally slower than other horses like the Arabian or the Thoroughbred.
Called a reveal or real, this gait allows the horse to travel large distances easily and quickly. Malware horses are still somewhat rare, so it’s possible that health issues aren’t widely recognized yet.
Because the Malware has very thin skin, it will benefit from some additional care and grooming, especially in the springs and summers when bugs are prevalent. The Marwari’s short coat will naturally shine if the horse is supported with good nutrition and regular grooming.
Because the Malware is so rare, there’s limited information on individual champion and celebrity horses. The Marwari’s comfortable gait makes it an ideal mount for anyone looking for a smoother ride.
Riders with back pain or other physical discomfort who benefit from gained breeds may find the Malware ideal. While the Malware has plenty of great traits, keep in mind that it’s difficult to find these horses for sale in the United States.
India continues to prohibit the exportation of these horses, so simply finding the breed for sale in the United States is a challenge. Because of the breed’s scarcity, you will probably need to pay to have the horse shipped a great distance, too.
Malware Conservation statusOther namesCountry of originIndiaDistributionStandardTraitsWeight Male: Female: Cultural colors, including piebald and skewbald Distinguishing featureless inward-curving, sometimes touching earth Ratholes, traditional rulers of the Mar war region of western India, were the first to breed the Malware.
Beginning in the 12th century, they espoused strict breeding that promoted purity and hardiness. Used throughout history as a cavalry horse by the people of the Mar war region, the Malware was noted for its loyalty and bravery in battle.
The breed deteriorated in the 1930s, when poor management practices resulted in a reduction of the breeding stock, but today has regained some of its popularity. The Malware is used for light draft and agricultural work, as well as riding and packing.
In 1995, a breed society was formed for the Malware horse in India. Since 2008, visas allowing temporary travel of Malware horses outside India have been available in small numbers.
Though they are rare they are becoming more popular outside of India due to their unique looks. Shalihotra manuscript pages, showing early horseshoe origins of the Malware are obscure.
:485 :162 :116 Unlike the Kathiawar, the Malware shows little Arab influence; :485 however, legend in India states that an Arabian ship, containing seven Arabian horses of good breeding, was shipwrecked off the shore of the Karachi District. These horses were then taken to the Mar war district and used as foundation bloodstock for the Malware.
There is also the possibility of some Mongolian influence from the north. The breed probably originated in northwest India on the Afghanistan border, as well as in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan, and takes its name from the Mar war region (also called the Jodhpur region) of India.
The Ratholes were forced from their Kingdom of Kana in 1193, and withdrew into the Great Indian and Thar Deserts. The Malware was vital to their survival, and during the 12th century they followed strict selective breeding processes, keeping the finest stallions for the use of their subjects.
During this time, the horses were considered divine beings, and at times they were only allowed to be ridden by members of the Rapt families and the Kshatriyas' warrior caste. When the Mughal captured northern India in the early 16th century, they brought Turbofan horses that were probably used to supplement the breeding of the Malware.
Mercaris were renowned during this period for their bravery and courage in battle, as well as their loyalty to their riders. During the late 16th century, the Ragouts of Mar war, under the leadership of Mughal emperor Akbar, formed a cavalry force over 50,000 strong.
Over 300 years later, during the First World War, Mar war lancers under Sir Protein Singh assisted the British. The period of British colonial rule hastened the Marwari's fall from dominance, as did the eventual independence of India.
The British preferred other breeds, and tried to eliminate the Malware, along with the Kathiawar. Britons living in India instead preferred thoroughbreds and polo ponies, and reduced the reputation of the Malware to the point where even the inward-turning ears of the breed were mocked as the “mark of a native horse”.
Indian independence, along with the obsolescence of warriors on horseback, led to a decreased need for the Malware and many animals were subsequently killed. In the 1950s many Indian noblemen lost their land and hence much of their ability to take care of animals, resulting in many Malware horses being sold as pack horses, castrated, or killed.
His work was carried on by his grandson, Maharajah Gas Singh II. A British horsewoman named Francesca Kelly founded a group called Malware Bloodlines in 1995, with the goal of promoting and preserving the Malware horse around the world.
The pair worked with other experts from the Indigenous Horse Society to develop the first breed standards. The government of India had originally banned the export of indigenous horse breeds, although not polo ponies or Thoroughbreds, in 1952.
This ban was partially lifted in 1999, when a few indigenous horses could be exported after receiving a special license. Kelly imported the first Malware horse into the United States in 2000.
Over the next seven years, 21 horses were exported, until, in 2006, licenses stopped being granted over concerns that native breeding populations were being threatened. One of the last Mercaris to be exported was the first to be imported to Europe, in 2006, when a stallion was given to the French Living Museum of the Horse.
In 2008, the Indian government began granting licenses for “temporary exports” of up to one year, to allow horses to be exhibited in other countries. This was in response to breeders and the breed society, who felt they were not being allowed a fair chance to exhibit their animals.
In late 2007 plans were announced to create a stud book for the breed, a collaborative venture between the Malware Horse Society of India and the Indian government. A registration process was initiated in 2009, when it was announced that the Malware Horse Society had become a government body, the only government-authorized registration society for Malware horses.
The registration process includes an evaluation of the horse against the breed standards, during which unique identification marks and physical dimensions are recorded. After the evaluation, the horse is cold branded with its registration number and photographed.
In late 2009 the Indian government announced that the Malware horse, along with other Indian horse breeds, would be commemorated on a set of stamps issued by that country. The coat may be of any color, and is most often dark or light bay, at times with the metallic sheen often seen in the Akhal-Teke ; it may also be gray or chestnut, or occasionally palomino, piebald, or skewbald.
Black horses are considered unlucky, as the color is a symbol of death and darkness. Horses with a blaze and four white socks are considered lucky.
The facial profile is straight or slightly Roman, and the ears are medium-sized and curving inward so that the tips meet; also, the Malware horse can rotate its ears 180º. The neck is arched and carried high, running into pronounced withers, with a deep chest and muscular, broad, and angular shoulders.
Mercaris generally have a long back and sloping croup. The legs tend to be slender and the hooves small but well-formed.
Kathiawar is have inward-slanting ears, a short back, and a straight, slender neck and are more similar to Arabians, but they are pure in breed. The Malware horse often exhibits a natural ambling gait, close to a pace, called the reveal, apical, or real.
Hair whorls and their placement are important to breeders of Mercaris. Horses with long whorls down the neck are called German and considered lucky, while horses with whorls below their eyes are called unusual and are unpopular with buyers.
These six are distinct from each other in terms of unique performance traits and different anticlimactic conditions in the various areas of India where they originated. A 2005 study was conducted to identify past genetic bottlenecks in the Malware horse.
However, since the population has decreased rapidly in past decades, bottlenecks may have occurred that were not identified in the study. In 2007, a study was conducted to assess genetic variation among all Indian horse breeds except the Kathiawar.
Based on analysis of microsatellite DNA, the Malware was found to be the most genetically distinct breed of the five studied, and was most distant from the Manipur; none of the breeds were found to have close genetic ties to the Thoroughbred. The Malware was distinguishable from the other breeds in terms of both physical characteristics (mainly height) and environmental adaptability.
The physical differences were attributed to differing ancestries: the Malware horse are closely associated with the Arabian horse, while the four other breeds are supposedly descended from the Tibetan pony. They are particularly suited to dressage, in part due to a natural tendency to perform.
Within the Malware horse breed was a strain known as the Natchez, believed by local people to be “born to dance”. Decorated in silver, jewels, and bells, these horses were trained to perform complex prancing and leaping movements at many ceremonies, including weddings.
Although the Natchez strain is extinct today, horses trained in those skills are still in demand in rural India. List of breeds documented in the Global Data bank for Animal Genetic Resources, annex to The State of the World's Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ^ a b c d e f Breed data sheet: Malware / India (Horse).
^ Malware horses find new home in India”. Comparative genetic diversity analysis among six Indian breeds and English Thoroughbred horses.
^ a b Elise Rousseau, Yann Le Boris, Teresa Lavender Pagan (2017). Phenotypic characterization of Indian equine breeds: a comparative study.
“Genetic diversity and bottleneck studies in the Malware horse breed”. “Genetic relationships of five Indian horse breeds using microsatellite markers”.