When the Europeans arrived in Australia, it was only a matter of time before horses were introduced; a giant land mass (a country and a continent) demanded the best form of transport available, which happened to be the horse.
The First Fleet
The First Fleet arrived Down Under in 1788, bringing the best thoroughbreds from England and Spain with the aim of starting a breeding operation. Only the best animals were chosen; the journey was long, from nine to twelve months and stamina and endurance would be required in the hot climate we have in Australia. The Europeans were already very knowledgeable about horse breeding and they used this to good effect when they set up a breeding colony. Fast forward to 2023 and there are state-of-the-art facilities for equine breeding that service the thoroughbred sector here in Australia.
Main Form Of Transportation
In the late 18th century, when settlers arrived in Sydney, they needed horses to travel inland; explorers, stockmen, bushrangers, guides, prospectors, and messengers all looked to the horse. In the following decades, weakness was eliminated from the gene pool by selective breeding, and a very durable breed was developed, called ‘water’, which is short for New South Wales, the first settler colony. The ‘waler’.
By the mid-19th century, the water was firmly established and according to a journal entry in 1848, the breed was a mixture, of Peruvian and Chilean horses that worked at altitude and were known for stamina and endurance. Thoroughbreds from India and South Africa were introduced at the start of the 19th century, creating a rugged breed that does not need too much water and can run for miles.
Bred For Conflict
As European settlers explored inland, they often met fierce resistance from the indigenous people and the British troops used waler horses, which were perfect for the dry, hot climate and could work with minimal food and water. While there wasn’t too much in terms of conflict with the locals, the British in India were having a hard time during a mutiny by many Indians. Walers were first sent to India in 1858, as they were desperately short of horses, and 29 walers were sent from Sydney to Calcutta; they far outperformed the local animals and soon 250 were commissioned to be sent and within a few months, a further 2,500 walers were ordered. Click here for the benefits of full-spectrum hemp oil for a wide range of animals.
The Boer War
In the period between 1899 and 1903, a total of 16,000 Waler horses were exported to South Africa to support the Boer War.
World War I
The First World War began in 1914 and according to records, around 160,000 Australian horses played a role in the conflict, which ended in 1918. Many were deployed in the Middle East, as the breed could endure the heat and the lack of humidity.
The Australian government has a lot of resources on horse care and should you wish to breed your stallion or mare, contact the right equine breeder and see what your options are.