The Bravest Horse Breed in the World
The Waler is considered to be one of the most robust, courageous horse breeds on earth. Its lines can be traced back to the horses that were brought over via the First Fleet, the 11 ships that departed from Portsmouth, England in 1787 to found the penal colony that went on to become Australia.
Crossbreeding between Arabs, Clydesdales, Percherons, Thoroughbreds, Timor ponies and Cape horses eventually created the animal that we know these days as the Waler, in a process that exemplifies the truth of Darwin’s dictum declaring the survival of the fittest.
Only the animals that managed to endure the difficult sea voyage and then adapt to meet the harsh demands of Australia’s landscape contributed to the Waler’s lineage. Although they were initially used to meet communication and transport needs for the settlers, the horse named after its place of origin, New South Wales, really came into its own in World War 1 in the mounted regiments Australia provided.
Their Role in the Fight for Freedom
The 1st Light Horse Brigade was supposed to be involved at Gallipoli but it quickly became clear that the peninsula’s terrain rendered this an impossibility. This meant that the men who’d been trained to fight on horseback had to wade into battle on foot instead, and the terrible consequences of this decision are known all too well. It was a costly failure for the Allies, with almost 30 000 French and over 100 000 Australian, British, Indian, Irish, and Newfoundland troops killed or injured.
Then members of the mounted regiments got sent to Egypt. This was after officials realised that their specialised training and sturdy horses suited them as perfectly to that landscape as NZ slots for real money are suited to internet gameplay.
Stories emerged of men and horses going without food or water for as long as three days at a time, and this not affecting their bravery, or victory, in battle. The Walers, in particular, showed their worth, never faltering in fights, clearing trenches cleanly, and galloping over long distances in intense heat and catastrophic conditions.
Sandy Saves Them All
Because of the cost of returning them and the diseases they may have brought with them, the Australian government refused to bring the Walers back when our soldiers returned home at the end of the war. Only one warhorse, Sandy, eventually returned out of the 136 000 that were sent over and great care was taken to ensure this incredible breed survived.
The Waler Horse Society of Australia got founded in 1986 with the express aim of preserving these horses and promoting their continuance so that future generations would have a chance to experience their incredible natures.
The Society was able to locate isolated clusters of Walers that had untainted bloodlines and have gone on to do an incredible job of breeding true to type, retaining the quality conformation, strong bones, immense intelligence, huge versatility, and great courage that the horse became so famous for so many years ago.