In the midst of Formula One racing, a village in Gujarat’s Jamnagar district is upholding a 125-year-old tradition of horse racing, with locals rearing various breeds of horses as a hobby. On March 8, Masitiya village in Jamnagar was transformed into a virtual race track when locals organised a traditional horse racing competition as part of a decades-old tradition.
Baji Mari’s horse number 302 took first place in this race. Last year, the horse number 307, Badshah, took first place. For the past 125 years, Masitiya has hosted an annual horse racing competition in which horses from Saurashtra, Kutch, and Kathiawadi compete.
The owner of the horse that takes first place is honoured. Kasambhai Khafi, a district panchayat member from Masitiya village, stated that horse races and camel races have been held at Masitiya village for the past 125 years, with Jatwan horses from all over Gujarat competing.
A total of two horse races are organised with separate races held for small horses and for big horses. It is said that horse racing first became popular in Afghanistan after which the horse racing craze spread all over the world. In Jamnagar area of Gujarat, people are rearing horses of different breeds as a hobby especially for the purpose of horse racing here.
Horse breeds such as Kathiawadi, Kutch, and Marwari horses are the most popular and consistently place first in annual horse races. Horse owners spend a lot of money and time training their horses for races all year. Horse race owners from the Jamnagar Panthak compete wherever horse races are held across the state. Every year, large crowds attend the traditional horse races in Jamnagar.