In past years the Australian Stock Horse has been widely used throughout Australia on cattle stations and as a favored mount worldwide for cavalries during war. Today the Australian Stock Horse has evolved into a high performance horse due to its versatility, quiet temperament, intelligence and athletic ability. With its versatility, the Australian Stock Horse has achieved outstanding success in a wide variety of sports including show jumping, dressage, eventing, pony club events, polo, polocrosse and campdrafting (an Australian sport involving cutting a cow and steering it around a course). Anyone would agree that they are distinctive, unique, capable and made for Australian conditions.
Standing between 15 and 16 hh, the Australian Stock Horse comes in all colors with bay being predominant. The introduction of Thoroughbred blood to the Waler line gave the horse a Thoroughbred-like head, but with more heaviness. The well sloped shoulders mark it as a good riding horse and the strong hind quarters contribute to its versatility. The breed is extremely hardy, with few tendencies towards lameness or foot problems. They are very surefooted and handle stress well due to their calm nature.
Horses were first brought to Australia by settlers in 1788. The rich pasture land of New South Wales provided the Spanish stock with good breeding ground. Over the years, Arab and Thoroughbred stock was introduced, giving the horses a close appearance to the Anglo-Arab. The horse fell into neglect during the gold rush of the 1850s and 1860s when ranches and farms were neglected in search of quicker wealth. Slowly, the horse was brought back into favor, showing considerable skill as a cavalry horse. With the introduction of Percheron and Quarter Horse blood, the Australian Stock Horse became a larger horse with unlimited versatility.
The First World War, and particularly the Allenby campaign against the Turks, created a reputation for the Australian Stock Horse as being the finest cavalry horse in the world. The horse could carry heavy loads, had great stamina and strong riding qualities. So remarkable were these traits that the horse was shipped to cavalries all over the world during the War. Upon their return to Australia, however, the horses were quarantined and soon destroyed in the desert by government order. Today there is a memorial to commemorate this sturdy breed in Sydney.
1. Waler 2. Arabian 3. Spanish Stock 4. Thoroughbred 5. Percheron 6. Quarter Horse
For more information:
The Australian Stock Horse Society Ltd.