The Waler horse is a strong warmblood type originating from a diverse mix of pony, draught, coach and saddle horse breeds introduced into Australia prior to the mid-1940s. From Pony breeds, such as the Timor Cape and Welsh they gained agility, hardiness and courage. Draught breeds, such as the Percheron, Clydesdale and Suffolk gave them strength, a gentle nature and power. Coaching breeds, such as the Cleveland Bay and Norfolk Trotter contributed their regular gait, hard hooves and iron legs, and from saddle horse breeds such as the Thoroughbred and Arab they inherited speed, endurance and well-formed joints.
The Waler is a versatile and adaptable breed, with the qualities of hardiness, stamina and frugality combined with natural courage and intelligence.
The Waler Horse Society of Australia Inc. recognizes four types:-
Pony (Scout horse or Officers sport horse)
Light (Officer’s mount)
Medium (Trooper’s mount)
Heavy (Artillery horse)
Regardless of type, Waler horses should show remarkable bone and robustness. Their jumping ability can be seen in the length of gaskin, splendid hindquarters and well-formed hocks. Their comfort as a riding horse shows in their long ground-covering walk coming from a well sloped shoulder, strong back, powerful legs, big clean joints and correctly sloped pasterns, at an angle corresponding to the shoulder. The chest is well spaced for plenty of heart and lung room, the girth deep through and ribs well sprung. The tail is set medium to low, giving a sweeping refined appearance. The head is alert, broad between kindly eyes and well set onto a graceful but strong neck that gives a good length of rein as befitting a cavalry horse.
Intelligent, spirited but generally not flighty, alert, quick to learn.
13hh to 17hh, (typically between 14.2hh to 16hh).
Kindly, refined and well set, with a defined gullet, wide muzzle, good open nostrils (not small). Jawbone not as deep, nor as prominent as the Thoroughbred. Eyes large to medium; ears well shaped and carried alertly. Not narrow between the eyes. Nose straight, not concave, some convex tendency allowable, big enough to justify the size of the body.
Graceful, supple, strong without heaviness, and giving a good length of rein; thinness and ewe-neck is considered undesirable. The neck should give the head a forward carriage without the exaggerated curve of the Arab, and not carry the head too low.
Strong, deep and sloping well back to a definite wither. A clear definition between shoulder and neck. Not bulging muscular. Well stood over the legs, allowing a chest that is neither narrow nor buxom.
Forelegs well set on, from a chest that is not narrow nor very wide. Strong and straight, not back or overset at the knee. Strong, short cannons (plenty of bone), large flat knee, sloping pasterns (not upright). Forearms strong, but not heavily muscular as in the Quarter horse. Hind legs with a good length of gaskin, hocks large, well developed and set low. Good bone and sloping pasterns. Not to be cow-hocked or bowed out. Feathering is permissible.
BACK, HINDQUARTERS AND TAIL
Strong, rounded back (not flat), good deep hind quarters, not pinched or blocky. Back neither coupled, too short, or too long, but in good proportion. Tending to short when compared to underside. Not to be roach backed, nor excessively dipped (some foaling and age dipped allowable). Fine, full sweeping tail, not elevated, dock set somewhat low. Tail not very bushy nor thinly ‘rat’ tailed. Sloping croup.
GIRTH AND RIBS
Deep girth and well sprung ribs, giving plenty of heart and lung room.
Well-shaped, hard and open.
COLOUR AND MARKINGS
Predominantly solid bay, chestnut, black, brown and grey. Buckskin, palomino, roan, flaxen mane and tail, as well as some white leg and facial markings, are not uncommon.
Information courtesy of the Waler Horse Society of Australia Inc.