The modern game of polo originated in Manipur but the Manipuri Polo Pony (Meitei Sagol) is now a critically endangered species. This project aims to establish a sanctuary, set up a breeding programme and reinstate the pony in the fabric of Manipur’s socioeconomic life.


One of the five recognised indigenous Indian horse breeds, the Manipuri Polo Pony or Meitei Sagol, is – like the people of Manipur – agile, tough and good natured.

For centuries, these ponies have played a central role in the life of local communities. The breed is first mentioned in the Cheitharol Kumbaba, the royal court chronicles of Manipur, in the first century CE.

The ponies are still used for polo in Manipur today with international tournaments held on Imphal’s traditional polo grounds, built two thousand years ago by the kings of Manipur’s Ningthouja dynasty.

Unfortunately, increased urbanisation and encroachment of wetlands has wiped out most of Meitei Sagol’s traditional habitat, forcing these semi-wild animals to wander the city streets and forage for food in the garbage, where they are often victims of malnutrition, a range of diseases and road accidents.

The state livestock census of 2012 estimated that the population had dropped to just 1100 ponies. Today there are fewer than 500 animals remaining.

This project aims to reverse this decline by raising awareness of the plight of ponies and by providing the resources, environment and support they so desperately need to thrive once more.


To secure suitable grazing land and establish a sanctuary where the remaining polo ponies can safely live and be cared for.
To address the health care needs of the ponies by establishing a network of dedicated local veterinary professionals.
To develop a breeding programme to increase the population of Meitei Sagol.
To utilise the ponies’ therapeutic value within the BBRC’s health and wellbeing programmes, by offering Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT) to our clients and patients to help promote their physical, occupational and emotional wellbeing.

To re-establish Meitei Sagol in the socioeconomic life of the Manipuri people by developing polo training programmes, pony trekking tours and a programme of education that raises awareness on a local level about the value of this rare animal.


Researching and negotiating lease and purchase options for suitable pony paddocks and grazing land
Engaging in dialogue with the Manipuri State Government, regarding the development and implementation of public policies that benefit the pony conservation programme
Building relationships with local community groups, and co-developing an education programme to demonstrate how the pony can have a positive impact on social and civic life in Manipur
Developing and implementing a regional media campaign to raise awareness of the plight of the pony in Manipur
Raising funds to launch the next phase of the project and work towards its sustainability objectives

Developing and implementing a regional media campaign to raise awareness of the plight of the pony in Manipur


The BBRC is speaking to potential patrons, sponsors and partners who we hope will join with us in helping to save the Manipuri Polo Pony before it becomes extinct. To view or download our Project Proposal Brochure, click on one of the links here. 


Conserving Manipur’s
Medicinal Plants
Saving the Manipuri Polo Pony
BBRC Health and Wellness Centre
Conserving Manipur’s
Medicinal Plants
Saving the Manipuri Polo Pony
BBRC Health and Wellness Centre


“The worth of a civilization can be judged by the place given to women in the society" K.S. Bhalla


The women (or Ima) of Manipur play a central role in the social, cultural and political life of local communities. In ‘Ima Tales’ we will share some of the Manipuri women’s homegrown wisdom, bringing you stories about the traditional remedies, recipes and other indigenous practices that make Manipur such a distinctive place. Click here to find out more…



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