THE INDIGENOUS HORSE OF INDIA NEEDS HELP TO SURVIVE!
Legend has it that in the 12th century AD, a group of people that would later be known as the Rathores, were exiled from their homeland. Sheoji, the man who would be the father of the Rathores, rode out proudly with a group of faithful pilgrims to find a new home. Their will was of iron, and their horses were strong and fast. Together, they would settle in a region called the Marwar, in Rajasthan, to start a new life.
The horses that bore them were integral to their survival and represented the pride and strength of the people. Over many years, they grew into the regal Marwari breed, and their beauty and power was known to all, represented by their distinctive inwardly pointed ears. When a Marwari horse moved through the city streets, the commoners would bow deeply before it. Yet while their heads faced the ground, their eyes would strain upward to get a glimpse of the almost mythical creature. For hundreds of years, this legendary horse would reign as the symbol of Marwari aristocracy.
In the early 1800s, the British colonials came to India to stake their claim. They brought with them an English way of life and their soldiers rode tall Thoroughbreds. Naturally, the English saw their own horses as the height of equine breeding, and many Marwari horses were killed to stop interbreeding.
After the Second World War, the colonials withdrew from India, leaving behind a scarred country. The aftermath of this continued to hasten the downfall of the Marwari, as Indian noblemen were stripped of their land and assets and even more horses suffered due to their inability to properly care for them. The Marwari horse was all but forgotten and over the course of 150 years, the breed was pushed to the very brink of extinction.
In the late 20th century, one of the remaining Indian lords, a man named Raghuvendra “Bonnie” Singh Dundlod and an American horsewoman named Francesca Kelly, set their minds to saving the breed. Francesca had attended one of Bonnie’s horse‐riding tours of the region and had been so moved by Bonnie and the Marwari horse’s story that she decided to dedicate her life to the conservation of the breed. Within a few years, they founded the Indigenous Horse Society of India, an international society for the preservation and revitalisation of the breed. Finding these friends, the Marwari horse began to thrive again.
Although the Marwari Horse has faced many challenges and was once near extinction, they have struggled for a foothold. However, the challenges they currently face could tip the precarious balance irretrievably.
The Indian Government has instigated an export ban on the Marwari and breeders, many of whom live in hard circumstances themselves, have excess stock. Good feed is not only expensive but is also very hard to find. They also face issues ranging from drought to little to no professional veterinary care and cruel and inhumane horse training practices, much like the dancing bears, due to lack of education and more modern horse equipment.
“Bonnie” Singh Dundlod and Francesca Kelly contacted Frazzica Productions to make a documentary on the plight of these amazing indigenous horses, which they have done with their own money because they believe in the cause. Frazzica Productions hope to launch this documentary at the Sundance Film Festival in August and promote it world -wide to raise awareness and funds to help Indian support the existing horses and also provide education and equipment to ensure a kinder way of training.
These horses need help, so please give any support you can to the Indigenous Horse Society of India. Visit Frazzica Productions website www.marwarimovie.com for more information.
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Press Release 1. 15 May 2012 Melbourne Australia
Melbourne Australia 15 May 2012
Marwari – War Horse of the Maharaja Documentary - Coming Soon
This Documentary Film featuring the Indigenous Horse of India, is the story of Bonnie, Kr. Raghuvendra Singh Dundlod (Rajasthan, India) and Francesca Kelly (Martha's Vineyard, USA) and their lifetime mission to raise worldwide awareness of the issues facing the Marwari horses of India.
Frazzica Productions has begun post production of the Marwari horse documentary starring Kr. Raghuvendra Singh Dundlod (Bonnie) and Francesca Kelly. This amazing story centres on the lifetime work of Bonnie and Francesca to address the plight of the Marwari horses in India, and their bid to change antiquated government laws that forbid the export of Marwari horses abroad.
Bonnie and Francesca, who are considered experts on the Marwari Horse and are highly respected for their work, have protected bloodlines and founded The Indigenous Horse Society of India. At their own personal expense, they travel the world raising awareness of the difficulties facing these beautiful animals and attempting to raise funds to help them.
The Marwari horses have faced many challenges and were once, near extinction. However, the challenges they currently face could tip the precarious balance irretrievably. There is an export ban in place and breeders have excess stock, good feed is expensive and hard to find. There are also cruel and inhumane horse training practices, much like the dancing bears, and many other issues ranging from drought to little to no professional veterinary care. There are equine “practitioners” but no vets in the entire state of Rajasthan, which is where the Marwari’s come from. And now, the only equine research center in the state of Rajasthan that provided at least some small help is at risk of closing down.
In this film we take you to the Hanumangarh Horse Fair in the state of Rajasthan where the finest Marwari horse breeders gather to discuss current issues and compete for various honors. Well-trained Marwari horses can fetch in excess of $25,000 USD at these fairs. The horses are taught to dance and they become highly valuable to their owners by performing at wedding ceremonies and prestigious events – often their only income. In war times these moves where taught to avoid elephant strikes and to protect their riders. Unfortunately horses are sometimes trained cruelly instead of the correct way, just to make a quick dollar.
Some of the scenes in this documentary will be disturbing to watch; but all of the trainers, owners, and breeders have one thing in common. They need help. Help in the form of education to show them a better way to treat the horses so they do not die painfully from illness; help in the form of training to show them more humane techniques to teach their horses to dance; and help from the outside world so they can obtain the kinder horse equipment being used by the western world.
Then, in the midst of all the chaos, there is a glimmer of light and gentle compassion, when Bonnie and Francesca introduce filmmakers to Rafik. Francesca refers to Rafik as India’s finest horse trainer and he will leave a lasting impression on you. Rafik is an amazing family man, a kind, gifted horse trainer and a true Godsend for the Marwari horse.
Throughout this remarkable documentary, filmmakers guide the audience through a colorful explosion of senses and emotions. This “no holds barred” story of two dedicated horse advocates who are determined to return the Marwari Horse to its revered place in India’s culture, is visually stunning, definitely confronting, and totally unforgettable.
The Marwari horses recently performed at the Diamond Jubilee Pageant at Windsor castle in front of Her Majesty the Queen of England, on the 13 February 2012. A contingent of over 30 dancers, horsemen and performers were lead by Bonnie and Francesca. Sadly, none of the Marwari horses featured in England where from India.
ABOUT BONNIE & FRANCESCA
Bonnie is known worldwide as a leading authority on Marwari Horses. He is the second son of Cavalry Officer, Thakur Ragihuvir Singh, of the house of Dundlod. With assistance from Francesca, Bonnie founded the Marwari Bloodlines register and the Indigenous Horse Society of India promoting solid breed standards and practices. He pioneered the first horse safaris of Shekhawati region of Rajasthan to provide a secondary living option for the horses and runs horse-riding safaris for travelers from his heritage hotel/home, Dundlod Fort. Bonnie is an accomplished horseman, polo player and breeder. He has taken thousands of tourists on his horse riding safaris through the state of Rajasthan, which provides employment for many locals. Bonnie has a deep connection with his home and also maintains a free school to help educate the children of the region.
Throughout northern India Francesca Kelly is known as Ghoravalli - she who rides horses. Francesca founded the group called Marwari bloodlines with the goal of promoting and preserving the Marwari horse around the world. Francesca has worked tirelessly with Bonnie to develop the breed standards. Prior to the government ban, she exported a few Marwari horses out of India to a safe and happy home in the USA and the first Marwari was exported to Europe in 2006. Francesca donated one of her precious stallions to the French Living Museum of the Horse to promote the cause and has also published a stunning pictorial book titled “Marwari”.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS:
Joe and Tatiana Frazzica of Frazzica Productions live in Melbourne Australia and they pioneered the first horse lifestyle TV show in Australia in 2003. Having worked in media filming horses and motorsports around the world, they visited Dundlod on invitation from Bonnie in October 2004. Joe and Tatiana were the first Australians to visit Dundlod Fort and to ride the Marwari horses. They returned to Australia and aired the film they had shot during their visit, on their television show Horse Rush TV, which aired in Australia and the USA. The footage of Bonnie’s dancing Marwari, shot at Dundlod Fort, is still a hit on You Tube to this day.
Tat and Joe became so enamoured of the Marwari horse and concerned about its plight, that In February 2012 they assembled an Australian/American crew to head to Rajasthan and film the story of Bonnie and Francesca’s lifetime work. Using the latest large sensor RED EPIC camera and taking acclaimed NYC Director of Photography, Ben Wolf, along to ensure that the scenes and colour were captured faithfully, Tatiana and Joe, along with their amazing crew, have produced some truly magnificent footage that will be seen in the future as a masterpiece of storytelling and film work.
For more information visit the following websites or contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org. There are various photos available for print media, on request from the India shoot FEB 2012. For media interviews please email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.