The Waler Horse
"… The majority of horses in the Corps were Walers and there is no doubt that these hardy Australian horses make the finest cavalry mounts in the world… They (the Australians) have got types of compact, well-built, saddle and harness horses that no other part of the world can show..."
This was the unbiased opinion of the English Cavalry Officer,
LtCol RMP Preston DSO, in his book: "Desert Mounted Corps"
The horse used by the Australian Light Horse were known as the "Waler" - having come originally from New South Wales long before the states became what they are today.
The Walers were a hardy mix of breeds that had early been imported to Australia, including: Thoroughbred, Arabian, Barb, Spanish breeds, Timor Pony, Shire, Clydesdale, Percheron, Suffolk Punch, Cleveland Bay, Welsh Cobb, Hackney and other native British Breeds.
Walers, 10th Light Horse Naval Base, South Fremantle, WA
Australian provided an ideal environment for the breeding of horses, and pastorallists from the United Kingdom imported the best bloodlines of various breeds from their own countries to breed horses for domestic purposes- working the land, heavy haulage, passenger transport, general riding and working cattle. From Sydney in New South Wales was the first settlers spread out and soon the Hunter Valley to the north became a established as centre for breeding quality horses.
Indee Topic, champion Waler Stallion
The trade in Australian horses for remounts to the British Indian Army started in the 1830's, and they gained the name "Waler" -(having first come from New South Wales) and their reputation for being a good riding horse with excellent temperament, strong bone, athleticism, courage, intelligence, and versatility.
During the Boer War and World War One the Waler was to become the backbone of the Australian Mounted Forces. They were specially suited to the harsh climate of the Sinai Peninsular and Palestine, where they proved superior to camels for transporting large numbers of troops.
To find out more about the Waler go to the websites below:
The Australian Light Horse Association http://www.lighthorse.org.au/resources/military-stories-misc/the-waler...-a-breed-of-horses-legend-or-fact
The Waler Horse Society of Australia http://www.walerhorse.com/whsa/
The Australian Stock Horse Society http://www.ashs.com.au/horses/default.asp
Australian War Memorial http://www.awm.gov.au/encyclopedia/horses/index.asp