Prepared from information supplied by the Waler Horse Owners and Breeders Association Australia
‘Waler’ was a generic term used for all horses sent initially from New South Wales, and then from throughout Australia, to serve as military mounts in India between 1836 and 1940.
The Waler emerged in Australia from selective breeding of Thoroughbred, Persian and South African Cape horses. A broad type was developed and the Waler became the primary Australian working horse.
During the First World War, Walers were bought from outback stations by British remount officers. About 139,000 horses from Australia were sent overseas during the First World War and the Waler still has a strong association with the Australian Light Horse in Palestine.
Walers were typically sturdy, hardy horses able to travel long distances in hot weather with little water and poor forage. They were bred in environmental conditions similar to those of in the Boer War and the Middle East theatre of the First World War, and reportedly recovered from hard work quickly.
The Waler was also bred for use in Australia. Bush mares were crossed with Thoroughbreds and Arab stallions for use by drovers. Waler mares were also crossed with Clydesdales, Suffolk Punches and Percheron horses to produce a heavy Waler suitable for outback station work. Timor stallions from the Northern Territory were crossed with station Waler mares, producing a smaller and lighter type of horse with exceptional endurance, also much prized by the Indian Army as polo mounts and remounts.
Today, Walers are found in all equestrian pursuits. Walers make an ideal cross and bring temperament, endurance and hardiness into the cross breed. The Waler makes a great endurance horse, stockhorse, serious eventing horse or pleasurable companion. The Waler’s temperament makes it suitable for young people and novice riders.
The founding members of the Waler Horse Owners and Breeders Association Australia first formed a Waler studbook in 1986. Their goal was to maintain the form and performance of the original Waler. A Waler classification, management and breeding program has ensured the preservation of the original bloodlines and hardy characteristics.
Today’s Walers, as registered by the Association, come from foundation stock that were identified as being genetically isolated stock from older outback stations. These foundation horses have not had any modern breeds introduced into their genetic strain and are the last of the old Waler bloodlines.