The Waler is an Australian horse breed that was originally used as a military mount.

Today, the Waler is used for a variety of purposes, including trail riding, fox hunting, and eventing.

They are known for their good temperament, intelligence, and stamina.

If you’re thinking about adding a Waler to your herd, here are some things you need to know.

Waler Horse Breed Info

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the Waler Horse:

Height (size) 10.0 – 17.0 hands high
Colors Most commonly chestnut, bay, black, brown and grey, but roan, pinto, buckskin, palomino, taffy and dun are also seen, and primitive markings are quite common
Country of Origin Australia
Common Uses Great working horse, excellent for jumping and pleasure riding, and trail riding

Waler Horse Facts & Information (Breed Profile)

History of Horses in Australia

Ships were used to transport the horses that would eventually become the ancestors of the Waler breed to Australia.

The first ship landed in 1788, and ten more followed. Many horses perished during the journey never reaching the final destination.

However, the horses who were able to make it to Australia had already established a reputation for being very resilient, and this quality was passed down through the generations of the Australian breeds.

The horses shipped to Australia were of various breeds, including Arabians, Thoroughbreds, Clydesdales, Cleveland Bays, and the Suffolk Punch.

History of the Waler Breed

The Waler was developed in colonial Australia by crossing a large range of breeds, including heavy draught types, powerful coach horses, native British ponies, Thoroughbreds, Arabians, and the African Cape Horse.

These horses needed strength, endurance, hardiness, and adaptability to endure the harsh Australian weather and to be able to do the demanding work expected of them.

It didn’t take long for Walers to be bred extensively, and in the 1830s a thriving export industry grew as word of their unrivaled cavalry horse ability spread throughout the British Army.

It was around that time that the British Army stationed in India began referring to them as “New South Walers”, and so the name stuck.

In 1886, Sir T. A. Coghlan wrote of the Waler

The bush horse is hardy and swift and capable of making very long and rapid journeys when fed only on the ordinary herbage of the country: and in times of drought, when grass and water have become scanty, these animals often perform astonishing feats of endurance.

Waler’s Role in Different Wars

During the Anglo-Boer War in South Africa (1899 – 1902), Australia sent 37,245 horses to the front lines, the majority of which were Walers.

And again, Walers were the preferred war horse during World War I, particularly within the Australian Light Horse Brigade.

Over the course of World War I, 121,324 Walers left Australia for Africa, India, Palestine and Europe.

However, only one horse returned – Sandy, the ride of Major-General W. T. Bridges, who died at Gallipoli in 1915.

Bill the Bastard, who earned the name because he sometimes bucked like a bronco, was another well-known Waler.

At the Battle of Romani in Egypt in August of 1916, Bill established a new name for himself by carrying five soldiers to safety (three on his back and one balancing on each stirrup) while under intense fire.

Also, Walers are well-known for their contribution to the charge at the town of Beersheba in Egypt on October 31, 1917, at the time held by the Ottoman Empire.

The horses of the 4th and 12th Light Horse Regiments of the Australian Mounted Division marched all night and fought all day without any water ultimately bringing the victory for the Allied forces.

Wales were also in World War II, but on a far smaller scale in comparison to World War I, and as soon as they were no longer needed for battle, interest in Walers quickly waned.

Waler in Modern Times

As the working horse was being gradually replaced by machinery, Australians relied on horses less and less.

Also, the Waler was not considered to be an attractive pleasure mount due to the breed’s generally unremarkable appearance.

Subsequently, many breeders gave up on their Waler stock, and some even went so far as to cull them.

Due to crossbreeding with more sought-after breeds, purebred Walers became increasingly rare, and by the 1960s, they were almost extinct.

Fortunately, in the middle of the 1980s, it was determined that a significant number of the wild horses that were being culled in the Northern Territory were descended from Waler breeding stock.

The Waler Horse Society was established in order to conserve the breed after many of these horses were captured and moved to domestic homes.

More feral populations have been discovered over the years, and breeding studs have been reestablished across Australia.

If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, keep reading!

Alternative Names



Intelligent, courageous, calm, sensible

Physical Characteristics

The head is refined with kind and alert eyes.

The neck is strong and merges into a well/refined chest.

The girth is deep, and the back is rounded and strong.

The legs are straight and strong with plenty of bone.

The tail is fine and full.

Four types are recognised within the breed: Pony (a scout horse or mounted games horse), Officer (a light type), Trooper (a medium type) and Artillery (a tall, heavy type).


Most commonly chestnut, bay, black, brown and grey, but roan, pinto, buckskin, palomino, taffy and dun are also seen, and primitive markings are quite common

Height (size)

10.0 – 17.0 hands high






Varies greatly

Blood Type


Common Uses

Great working horse, excellent for jumping and pleasure riding, and trail riding



Popular Traits

Very resilient and versatile



Country of Origin



Clydesdale, Suffolk Punch, Cleveland Bay, native British ponies, Thoroughbred, Arabian, African Cape Horse