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Derived from a cross between the Arabian and Mongolian Wild Horse, many believe that the Manipuri Pony originated in India from ancient stock. In the seventeenth century, the Manipur cavalry used the Manipuri ponies as feared and respected cavalry mounts throughout upper Burma. In 1945, the British Fourteenth Army used the Manipuri Pony as transport animals into Burma during World War II. Manipuri Ponies are seldom over thirteen hands high.
In the seventh century, the King of Manipur introduced the game of Manipuri Sagol Kangjei or polo using Manipuri ponies, which were athletic, tough, swift, very agile, state-bred ponies. Some of the qualities that make these pony's excellent polo horses include their quick response, intelligence, and lightening speed.
In India today, the latest data on the Manipuri Pony population shows there are only twenty-three hundred and twenty-seven of this special breed of pony, which requires immediate effort, conservation efforts, and attention to preserve and keep this precious breed from becoming extinct.
It was in the nineteenth century that the British became aware of the game of polo and eventually introduced it to Europe and America, where it became hugely popular and thrived.
Many consider the Manipuri pony as one of the most prestigious and purest equine breeds in all of India. Found in Assam and Manipur, this hardy, strong breed of pony are extremely well suited and adaptable to their geo-climatic conditions due in part to their tremendous endurance, intelligence, and toughness.
Although polo as people know it today began in the middle of the eighteen hundreds, records show that it was Persia, where the first recorded polo game took place around six hundred B.C.
As they raised the polo pony's height limits and continued to increase these limits over the years, the popularity of Manipuri ponies decreased due to most players wanting larger horses instead of the smaller Manipuri. By 1919 when they abolished the height limit for horses in polo matches, most polo players had already quit using Manipuri ponies and were selecting larger horses instead.
Manipuri ponies are fast, intelligent, have stamina, and are used today in the military, for racing, and still used as polo mounts.
Manipuri ponies are generally from eleven to thirteen hands high and recognized in fourteen different colors including dark bay, reddish brown, light grey, roan, liver chestnut, stocking, Sinai, and Mora white, grey, black, and bay.
Although aristocracy and modern polo go hand in hand, it was the Indian tribesmen that originally thought up polo.
Polo or Sagol Kangjei goes back to the thirteen hundreds in India. It is polo played with fourteen players, seven on each team while riding Manipuri ponies, which are often less than five feet tall. They use a fourteen-inch ball made of a bamboo root and a polo stick made of angled cane with a striking end having a fixed woodenhead. Players chase after the ball on their finely trained Manipuri pony trying to hit it into the goal, hoping to win the game.
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