Australian Waler Horse Database

A record of Foundation Walers and their offspring

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The Australian Waler Horse

The Waler is Australia's first horse breed and 'arguably the greatest' (Pickeral, 2011 p.105). The Waler was indispensable in the exploration, development and settlement of Australia. Its stamina, bravery and affable temperament made it an ideal cavalry horse and by the 1840s there was a lucrative trade in horses to the British army in India. It was at this time that they became known as Walers, a generic term used for all horses sent from Australia to India.

Because of the Indian trade, quality thoroughbred stallions were selectively crossed with station stock. The breeds of horses that went to make up the Waler included British native pony breeds, roadsters and coach horses like the Hackney and Cleveland Bay, heavier working horses like the Suffolk Punch, Clydesdale, Shire and Percherons, Arabs and other smaller breeds like the Timor pony and Cape Horse. From this mix a distinctive type developed, ideally suited to Australian conditions.

Walers were widely used in the Boer War (1899-1902) and are famous for their role in World War 1, most notably the charge to take enemy wells at Beersheba.

Walers were used again in World War 2 and the sale of remounts to India continued for some time after this but by the 1950s horses had largely become redundant and Waler numbers began to decline. In the 1980s there was renewed interest in the Waler. Foundation horses of the old Waler bloodlines were located on remote outback properties. These horses had been isolated with no modern breeds introduced into their genetic strain and the process of re-establishing the breed began.

There are now two breed associations, the Waler Horse Society of Australia (WHSA) and the Waler Horse Owners and Breeders Association of Australia (WHOBAA).

Today's Waler makes a great endurance horse, an agile and thinking stock horse, a serious competition horse, a wonderful ride/drive combination or just the very best companion for pleasure riding. Their temperament makes them ideal for a young person's first horse or for the more mature person who is looking for a steady, calm and reliable mount (Pickeral, 2011 pp.105 -106, Lane, J. personal communication, 2017).

The Database

The database has been developed to provide a listing of Foundation Waler horses and their offspring in order to ensure the continued development and maintenance of the breed based on the old Waler bloodlines. Much of the information regarding the foundation horses is held in the memories of those involved in re-establishing the breed and the data base is a shift from collective memory to public record.

The purpose of the database is twofold. Given that there is currently no publically available record of known Walers and the breed is identified as critically endangered, this site is attempting a comprehensive list of all known Walers since efforts to save the breed started in the 1980s. As many of these horses were not registered with either association, their details would otherwise be lost.

Secondly it enables those who own, or who are interested in purchasing, a Waler to trace the breeding of their horse back to Foundation bloodlines.

The database is not a studbook, nor is it a breed register. Studbooks and registration are the province of the two breed associations.

The properties from which Foundation horses were sourced is the starting point. There are currently several properties recognized for inclusion on the database. These include Newhaven, Mount Riddock, The Garden, Loves Creek, Ringwood Station, Mabel Creek, Jinka, Wilpena Pound, Hermansburg, Cordillo Downs, Gogo, Mount Weld, Yambah, Lyndavale and Todd River Downs. Where insufficient information exists but we believe a horse to have originated from one of these properties, or an as yet unrecognised property, we will include a listing under Miscellaneous.

A brief description of each property is given followed by a listing of horses from that property. Where there are gaps in the information on a horse, assistance in completing the record is requested. If there are additions to be made to the database, in line with the purpose detailed above, these too are welcome. Information, including photographs if these are available, should be submitted using the form on the contact section of the website.

How You Can Help

If you have or know of a Waler that is not listed on this site and that comes from one of the listed stations or is progeny of Foundation horses please send details to us for inclusion on the database.

Details, where possible should include:

  • Station name if appropriate
  • Name of horse & paddock name (plus sire/dam if known)
  • Sex
  • Date of acquisition/birth (specify which & if estimated)
  • Colour
  • Height
  • Registration (either WHSA, WHOBAA or N/A)
  • Picture
  • We want to include all Walers of original bloodlines.

    For instance in the 1980's 40 horses came in one truck from Cordillo Downs station but only 8 are listed on this site. Where are the missing 32?