The first horses are said to have arrived in Australia in 1788 from South Africa.
They were a mixture of Dutch, Barb, Arabian and Spanish blood.
They were poor specimens with large heads, straight shoulders and poor feet,
though they were fairly tough and courageous.
Horses were then imported from Europe, mainly Thoroughbreds, Arabs and Anglo-Arabs.
The earlier hacks were much improved by the subsequent crossings with these imported horses
and they were used for transport and on the outbacks until World War I when thousands were
rounded up for cavalry mounts. They made exceptionally talented cavalry horses, with their calm
and amiable temperament coupled with their speed and stamina. After World War I the numbers of
Walers dropped considerably and after World War II the name Waler was replaced by the Australian
It stands between 15 to 16.3h.h. and may be any solid colour it is a good general purpose saddle horse with a thoroughbred appearance. The conformation varies considerably, though it is a quality riding horse with good sound limbs and feet. The present day stock horse has been influenced by several breeds other than Thoroughbred and Arab Quarter Horse, various ponies and heavy breeds such as the Clydesdale and Suffolk Punch have all been imported into Australia and it is more than likely that some were out crossed to these breeds. It is used for cattle herding, taking part in rodeos, general riding and as a competition horse.