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As with many groups of wild or semi-feral horses the original Waler Horses were considered nuisances by many of the larger and smaller ranches and farms throughout Australia. The wild horses were military horses and remounts that had simply been left to run free over the vast areas and acreages when war horses were no longer needed. Excellent foundation stock started the Waler breed, and the Society worked with increasing effort to help preserve these horses and define them as a unique, Australian breed.
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The Waler Horse Society was founded to try to protect the existing Waler horses that were being rounded up and slaughtered. One of the reasons for the attempted eradication of the breed was due to the Tuberculosis Brucellosis Eradication Scheme implemented by the Northern Territories Government to eliminate all feral animals that may be carriers of either tuberculosis or brucellosis. Rather than testing the animals the horses were either rounded up and killed at meat processing facilities or they were simply shot and left. The Society worked to purchase and obtain the remount Walers that had been left to exist on their own on the old military facilities. Through developing a breed standard and relocating the Walers to different areas of Australia the Waler Horse Society was able to both establish a standard for the breed as well as develop a registry.
Different from the Brumby, the Australian feral horse that is a true mixture of all different breeds that may have reverted to the wild state or been released onto the open areas of the country, the Waler has excellent conformation and can be used as a dressage, jumping and eventing horse as well as a pleasure riding and even a stock horse. The Waler is categorized into four different types, the pony, light, medium and heavy. Each type is based on the size of the Waler and is determined by the breeds that went into creating the particular line. Many Walers have carriage horse blood, Arabian and Thoroughbred and even a small amount of draft breed blood may be found in the heavy Walers although in Australia the coldblood breeds were not encouraged in breeding programs due to the decreased stamina and heat tolerance of the coldbloods.
The current function of the Waler Horse Society is to both regulate and promote the breed as well as to preserve and protect the feral groups of Walers still found in many areas of Australia. The Society promotes the selective breeding of Waler Horses and has allowed them to be established as a separate breed that can excel at sport horse competitions and events. Since these horses are uniquely able to tolerate the Australian climate they are ideal as competitive horses in an environment that is challenging for many of the other traditional warmblood breeds. In addition Walers are also used in harness as light draft horses and as pleasure riding horses throughout both Australia and the rest of the world. Endurance is a key component of the Waler breed and likely will be one of the new markets that the Waler Society will promote for this versatile breed.
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