In Sikh history, animals have been given an importance and respect. The horses of the Sikhs throughout history played an important part during important battles. We find that there have been some very important horses which are worth noting.
The following are stories around the importance of horses in Sikh History
1) Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s famous blue coloured horse.
In fact Guru Sahib is sometimes known as “Neelay ghoray whalla” or “one with the blue horse” and many a folk songs and vars sing the exploits of “Neelay ghoray they swaar” or “the rider of the blue horse”.
Just as his grandfather Guru Hargobind sahib, Guru Gobind Singh instructed his Sikhs to make offerings of arms and horses in readiness for the turbulent times ahead.
In anticipation of this Guru Gobind Singh learnt the art of horsemanship from an early age under the guidance of his maternal uncle, Bhai Kirpal Chand.
To this day, the breed of the horse called “Blue Roan” still exist, but not the blue color of the rare horse of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
There is also an incident when Guru Ji’s horse stopped before a entering a tobacco field.
2) Horse Bhai Bidhi Chand rescued from Lahore Fort
He was one of the five Sikhs chosen to accompany Guru Arjan on his journey to Lahore where he was martyred in 1606. Guru Hargobind Sahib ji chose him to be one of the commanders of the armed forces he had raised and he displayed as a soldier great feats of valour in battles with the imperial troops.
His best-known exploit, however, was the recovery of two horses, Dilbag and Gulbag, from the stables of the governor of Lahore. The horses belonged to a Sikh who was bringing them from Kabul as an offering for Guru Hargobind, but they were seized on the way by the Mughal satrap. The first horse Bidhi Chand recovered disguised as a hay-seller, and the second disguised as an astrologer.
3) Bhai Gurdas Ji’s Test
One day , Bhai Gurdas Ji wrote a verse in one of his Vars, it stated “that if the Guru tested his Sikh, the Sikh would automatically pass the test.”
The sixth Guru , Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji was not best pleased with this tone of thought and decided to test Bhai Gurdas Ji himself. Guru Ji gave Bhai Gurdas a bag of gold coins and sent him to Kabul to buy some horses. Having arrived safely, he completed the deal. Bhai Ji then asked two Afghans to come into his test to collect the money. Bhai Gurdas Ji went into the tent first and when he checked the bag of coins he found to his dismay that it was full of pebbles.
Being at that time completely unable to face up to what he saw as disgrace, he made a run for it from the back of the tent. At the front of the tent the attendants waited, eventually they entered the tent and saw a bag of gold coins but not Bhai Gurdas Ji. The horse dealers were properly paid and in due course the horses arrived back at Amritsar where the whole sorry tale was told to Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji. In the meantime Bhai Gurdas Ji, now guilt ridden arrived at Benaras.
There to earn a living he started giving the local people talks on Sikhism. He received a message from Guru Sahib Ji to return home, but still felt sick at heart and very repentant. He decided to re-write the verse that had displeased Guru Sahib Ji. This time he declared “ That no Sikh on his own can ever pass the Guru’s test unless firstly he has the Guru’s blessing.”
4) Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Horse
Maharaja Ranjit Singh gave immense importance to horses after he became the Maharaja of Punjab after conquering the Lahore Fort in 1799. Maharaja Ranjit Singh had the entire walled city of Lahore cleaned and scrubbed for 2 days because his horse as to pass through there.
A military barrack at the Lahore Fort was converted by the British military from a horse stable to a barrack. Maharaja Ranjit Singh kept 1,000 of the finest horses there and when the stable became full he made an even larger stable at Hazoori Bagh.
The horse which stands out the most is the legendary horse which costed “rupees 60 lakh” and by today’s standards it would cost Rs12 billion .
5) Bhai Tara Singh Wan’s Horse
Bhai Tara Singh Wan from the Village Wan in Punjab was known to care immensely for horses and would often treat injured horses.