If you do any amount of research on these awesome horses, & trust me, I have spent many hours researching them, you are going to encounter two names connected with bringing the breed count back from just 600, & working tirelessly to promote their future: Ms. Francesca Kelly & Kr. Raghuvendra Singh Dundlod (aka Bonnie). They have been instrumental in saving these beautiful horses ever since Ms. Kelly went on a horseback safari in India in 1995 & met Bonnie Singh whose Marwari were the mounts of the safari at Dundlod Fort.
I have followed the endeavors of these two incredible people for many years & was quite excited when Gateway To India was announced last year! That could only mean one thing for the Celebration horse! A Marwari! & the only Marwari in the U.S. belong to Ms. Kelly, which meant that surly she would be there! & by George, that was indeed the case!
With that in mind, as soon as I knew I would be able to attend BF I decided to create a gift for her, since I appreciate all that she has done for this breed. I painted one of my AR releases, 'Sundara' my Marwari stallion, as a portrait of the stallion Gajraj; a handsome black with four white feet & an off kilter white face. He was an incredibly well known stallion & if you pick up any publication including these horses, he is most likely pictured in it.
See pictures of the elegant Gajraj here & here. Both photos are taken by Slawik Equine Photography.
Now, since my going to BF was a certainty only six days before BF, this was a very fast paintjob! If Gajraj had been anything more than a straight, non-dappled black with a little chrome, it wouldn't have happened! It was doable though, & finished he still sports a paintjob that I am pleased with. BUT, I literally finished him in the wee hours of the morn on Friday, the day I was to head for KY. So, these are unfortunately not my best pictures. I had to get out of the house & on the road. He is actually a lovely rich brown-base black which I could not get to pick up on my camera. He is especially pretty in the sunlight when you can see his shading & highlighting.
We arrived at BF in the early afternoon on Fri, I picked up SRs for a friend in exchange for our tickets (I just don't do OFs, so I didn't want the SR ticket anyway), & went over to Maggie Bennett's booth. That was the majority of BF for Fri since we had to leave for the cabin we had reserved before going to the CHIN that evening. But Saturday! Saturday I was DEFINITELY seeing Ms. Kelly's seminar on the Marwari horses at noon!!
Saturday morning Dad & I headed to the KHP a bit earlier than needed since I wanted to be absolutely SURE of finding where she would be talking. If you have ever been to BF, than you know that no one knows where anything is at BF, not even the BF information booth!
Turns out that it wasn't a problem, it really was in the Visitor's Center of the KHP & we found the room, a small theatre of sorts, right off the bat. We had about an hour give or take to kill before noon, so we looked at the dioramas, & then set on a comfy couch in the Visitor's Center & people watched.
About ten minutes before the set time, we went in & got good seats; I wanted to video her talk. As we were sitting there, a few people bustled in & out from the stage, & then the lady of the hour came in with granddaughter in tow. Along the other side of the seats another person I had not expected to see also came in: Bonnie Singh had come from Rajasthan for BF!!!! Not only that, but their top rider from Dundlod Fort, Dalip Kilaniya, had come as well!
Ms. Kelly started her talk, & I did indeed record it, with all my pathetic video camera skill! Evidentially my camera has a time limit set on it at the moment which I did not know of. Right then was not the time to hunt around for a way to change it, so I just recorded it in four parts, starting it up again as soon as it stopped. Not much was missed!
Here is her talk:
We had to get out of the way for the next speaker, so we went out into the Visitor's Center. She wanted a picture so she found a more picturesque area & as Bonnie took some pictures, I had Dad take a couple on for me too.
I asked all three of them to sign my Nazruddin (pronounce naz-roo-DEEN), & we all exchanged business cards. Ms. Kelly is interested in some Sundaras & CM painted Kalahkaaris to benefit the Indigenous Horse Society of India! & Bonnie invited me to Dundlod Fort for a horse safari! (Someone please beam me there!!!)
...Saturday was a really, REALLY, GOOD day!!!
More to come! So check back!!