Waler Horse: Understanding The Australia’s Iconic Equine Breed

Beginning its journey back nearly 300 years, the Waler Horse stands proudly as an icon of Australian military and colonial history. First introduced during British colonization, these horses quickly earned recognition for their robustness and indefatigable spirit; today their fame extends well beyond Australian borders due to global recognition for durability and energetic energy levels.

Since their introduction they have provided critical roles across a variety of applications worldwide – acting as useful allies as part of an army or navy unit.

Walers have long been recognized for their contributions to historical conflicts worldwide, transcending their roles as mere transporters or workhorses and becoming indispensable heroes over time.

Not only have these sturdy equines provided riders with reliable mounts; but also harnessed coaches, propelled caravans, transported goods quickly across long distances – embodying flexibility at every step.

Origin of the Name:

Homage to New South Wales: The term, “Waler”, perfectly captures its breeding origins – first introduced as “New South Walers”.

While alluding to their geographical beginnings, the moniker also symbolises endurance and hardiness that is characteristic of both breed and country of its birth.

The story of Australia’s Waler Horse weaves an intricate tapestry, interweaving itself with its dynamic history.

As this remarkable breed gallops along, one hears echos of epic battles and untamable explorations as its spirit endured vast landscapes and periods, embodying resilience and fortitude through time.


The Waler Horse weaves its way deeply into Australian landscape and history, coming into being from a mix of diverse breeds – such as Thoroughbreds, Arabs, Cape Horses, Timor Ponies with occasional Clydesdale or Percherons mixed in – emerging as not one but several versatile ‘types.’ Not only did this magnificent breed adapt well but thrived under harsh climates and strenuous working conditions of Australia – becoming hardy enough to navigate terrain with limited food or water resources available!

Characteristics: Strength and Perseverance combine in this individual.

Military and Exploration Capabilities:

Preferred Size: Walers standing 15-16 hands high were generally chosen by cavalry units as their horse of choice, though certain corps such as South Australian Bushmen often disapproved of those exceeding 16 hands in height.

Rejections: Unbroken horses or those sporting grey and broken (spotted) coats were frequently excluded from consideration for purchase.

Burden Bearers: These horses were assigned the task of carrying not only their rider but also a substantial load weighing approximately between 102 kg and 108 kg across various terrains and conditions.

Gait and Motion:

Ensuring Stealth and Avoiding Strain:

Walers were known for their unique ability to quickly move from walking into cantering without disrupting or straining, particularly within military settings. Their smooth transition from walk into canter became a sought-after quality in ensuring stealthy yet secure maneuvering.

Thoroughbred Racing Connections:

Celebrating Victories: The Waler was blessed with Thoroughbred bloodlines that contributed to its impressive record on both battlefield and racing tracks, earning itself places in Australian Stud Book as well.

North African Accolades: Notably during their service in North Africa, some Walers competed and triumphed against Egyptian horses and Thoroughbreds in races. For example, in 1919 alone, Walers from the ANZAC Mounted Division raced their horses to win five out of six events at Heliopolis near Cairo – remarkable achievements!

Waler Horses have proudly marched through history, their tales of endurance, military service, and racing achievements being forever linked with Australia’s vast and rugged terrains. Every feature from their origins to applications across various fields showcase their undaunted spirit that continues to draw in horse lovers around the world.