Old-fashioned Horse

What is a Waler horse? Learn about the types and ancestry of our unique ‘caught in a time-warp’ breed. At the time of Australia’s colonisation there was a renaissance of horse breeding around the world, so we had access to a great variety of horse breeds from which to develop our unique Waler horse. Horses came to Australia via all sea trading routes, horses could be picked up wherever the ships called into port on their journey to Australia.

Hear more about this fascinating time in our history on this ABC podcast. It is a real treat!

Waler Types

Waler types were key to the mix of breeds used to create different horses for different purposes, in particular for military specifications. Due to lack of care in breeding programmes and limited market demand, the pony Waler is nearly completely lost to us now, as is the heavy type.

Continue Reading Waler Types

  • A Look at Conformation

    A Look at Conformation

    This remains a basic handbook, written before the internet (yes there was a time before the internet!) Done for Classifiers, it was compiled by observing Walers and researching Australian horses of the past and is shared here for those interested in what to look for in our old-fashioned horse.

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  • Walers in Action

    Walers in Action

    Horses were once all we had for work and transport, they had to be safe, versatile, easy to keep, and above all, sensible. A good horse with comfortable action was always in high demand, and still is today!

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  • Colour and Markings

    Colour and Markings

    The first Colours and Markings guide for Walers, once done for Classifiers, was written before the internet; even when the internet started it was some years before scholarly articles appeared on diverse subjects. Now we know the genetics behind colours and marking.

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  • More About Spots

    More About Spots

    Spots are discussed in our post Colour and Markings. This post is to supplement the information there as it will be helpful especially to those with Snowy Mountains brumbies now seeking known breeding links to the past.

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  • A Romp Through History

    A Romp Through History

    Sit down with a cuppa and learn about the progression through history of the primary horse breeds that made up our original Waler horse. The historical context is everything…

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  • A Word About Types

    A Word About Types

    There are four types of Waler, and no height restriction although those under 14 hands would be classed as ponies. One only needs to think of Thoroughbreds to think of breeds where the type varies considerably.

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  • Type: Medium (Trooper)

    Type: Medium (Trooper)

    Mare Classic Faith is classified as Medium. These photographs show how she has developed over time, illustrating the type we have to this day.

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  • Type: Light (Officer)

    Type: Light (Officer)

    Mare Classic Aria is classified as Light. These photographs show how she has developed over time, illustrating the most prolific type remaining in domestic Walers.

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  • Type: Pony

    Type: Pony

    Foundation mare Hale was captured on Todd River Downs in 2019, age approx three years. She is classified as Pony. These photographs show how she is developing over time, a rare example remaining in our domestic Walers.

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  • Type: Heavy (Artillery)

    Type: Heavy (Artillery)

    To our knowledge the heavy Waler type is virtually lost to the breed (at least in a domestic situation). We would love to hear otherwise and to add photographs to this post.

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  • The Timor Pony

    The Timor Pony

    The Timor is by far the most influential pony in the Waler’s make-up. The Timor Pony is a very pure breed.

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  • Welsh Ponies and Cobs

    Welsh Ponies and Cobs

    Welsh Ponies and Cobs are a significant background breed of the Waler, the most numerous imported ponies in our early history (apart from the Timor Pony).

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  • Arab Horses

    Arab Horses

    Arab horses (now Arabian – using terms of the day for historical context; ‘Arabian’ was used very rarely). Continuing the background of the Waler…

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  • Cleveland Bay

    Cleveland Bay

    Cleveland Bay – an important background breed of the Waler. Now the rarest horse breed in the world – facing extinction – this handsome, superlative horse breed was once highly popular in Australia.

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  • Suffolk Punch

    Suffolk Punch

    Now critically endangered in Australia and the UK, the loveable Suffolk Punch is a founding breed of the Waler.

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  • The Roadster

    The Roadster

    Old newspaper photos, despite the quality, provide a pictorial guide to this founding breed of the Waler.

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  • The Shire Horse

    The Shire Horse

    Some say Shires and Clydesdales are much the same, however there are differences.

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  • Percherons


    Another important background breed of Walers, with heightened interest in them after WW1.

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  • Clydesdales


    The Clydesdale was the most popular draught breed in Australia. Our photos of the breed are carefully selected as it became a generic term for draught.

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