Manipuri ponies to go beyond polo, will become part of mounted police after over 30 years

The ponies will be seen again on street sides in the state capital Imphal during police patrolling.

Published: 20th October 2022 08:44 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th October 2022 08:44 PM   |  A+A-

Manipuri ponies to be seen again on street sides in the state capital Imphal during police patrolling. (Photo | Special Arrangement)

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: The Manipuri Pony has helped in war and sports for centuries: now it is set to return as protector of the law.

The Manipur government will reintroduce Mounted Police on the back of the Manipuri Pony. The ponies will be seen again on street sides in the state capital Imphal during police patrolling. More than 30 years ago, they were used for a similar purpose.

Chief Minister N Biren Singh said the whole idea was to help preserve the tradition of cavalry and promote Manipuri Pony. He said cavalry played a major role during warfare when Manipur was a kingdom.

He insisted that people preserve Manipuri culture and the contributions which their forefathers made to protect Manipur from external forces. As a prelude to it, 20 Manipuri ponies will be introduced in the Mounted Police, he added.

The government has constituted a committee to identify police personnel fond of horseriding. Singh said more ponies would become part of the Mounted Police in due course.

A traditional Indian breed of small horse, the Manipuri Pony appears in Manipur’s history and mythology. The animal was used during polo as well as warfare, ridden by Meitei warriors.

The Manipuri Pony had a large population in the early part of the 20th century. The numbers have fallen drastically since.

N Ibungochoubi, who is a member of the Manipuri Pony Society, expressed concerns over the dwindling population of the Manipuri Pony. He said the animal’s population was estimated to be less than 600 in 2014.

“The Manipuri Pony population in 2003 was less than 2,000. Then in 2014 during a three-month long survey by the Manipuri Pony Society, roughly around 600 ponies were found,” Ibungochoubi said.

He said road accidents and food poisoning were the two reasons behind their declining population.

“Their natural habitat has been encroached upon by modern civilisation and they have been driven away. So, their deaths in road accidents are common. They also die due to food poisoning as they eat the rubbish, including plastic, after being driven away,” Ibungochoubi said.

He said polo lovers, local clubs, organizations, including the Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association, the Manipur Equestrian Association and the Manipuri Pony Society played key roles in the movement for the preservation of age-old tradition of polo.

“We owe a great deal to the polo players and the owners who have saved the Manipuri ponies from extinction,” he added.


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