Cate Corso, March 2023. Image: Piperita with Cate at Collingwood Children’s Farm, Abbotsford, Melbourne
My husband Sam first met Angela and her herd of Walers and with his keen and knowledgeable eye for a well put together horse and temperament he was drawn to their rich history and involvement in the war. Spending more time with the Walers, in particular Coolibah, and along with our young boys we all soon began to understand why this breed was not only used in the war due to their stamina, strength and sturdiness but we were also discovering their trainable temperament, sincere loyalty and commitment to partnership with their handler.
Fast forward a few months….. Angela phones Sam with a proposal of us taking on a Waler. This young filly has been bred with the intention of training to muster cattle in the high country but due to her owners being unwell and passing away had not any handling and had been roaming a large paddock. I was at a time capacity with training the horses we already owned but Sam’s response to Angela was “We cannot take on any more horses, Cate doesn’t have the time…. we’ll absolutely take her”.
Whilst I was feeling a touch overwhelmed with yet another horse to work with, I was quickly persuaded by Sam as he was seeing this as an untouched opportunity.
Images left and below: Piperita and Cate at a clinic
Pipi arrived at our home and settled well amongst our horses and children quickly adapting to the goings on around her. It was 12 months before I decided she was ready to begin starting her under saddle. Pipi is a very reactive mare whose first instance is to go into flight mode which has proved very hard to gauge as it happens so quickly. I was having to slow and break everything down which has made me so aware in how I train. Pipi is a very quick thinker and so intelligent which is godsend in training a horse but has to be treated with the utmost respect as this type of horse can be misinterpreted and the training process damaged very easily.
Pipi is now rising 7 and we are constantly developing our partnership together. I feel a very strong connection with her, unlike any other horse I have owned. We regularly attend clinics and lessons and her quick mind means we progress and develop every time we ride. We plan for Pipi to compete in Western Performance alongside our other horses, trail ride and muster stock – there is no doubt she will be a well-rounded adaptable horse who is a pleasure to ride.
Pipi also attends events at the Collingwood Children’s Farm in Abbotsford, Melbourne (along with her sister Coolibah) as an ambassador for the Walers, where she is much admired and impeccably behaved.
Angela generously allowed us to purchase Coolibah and we feel privileged to own 2 full Waler sisters. We want to share and honour the legacy of this breed, not only for their influence in Australian history but also as a versatile, trainable and dependable breed that is the perfect size and temperament for the entire family to love and enjoy.