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25th April 2006
Tamworth might be better known as the country music capital but people are making a pilgrimage there for another reason - to see the Waler Memorial.
Unveiled in October 2005 this life size, life-like bronze memorial to the Australian Light Horse is a project which had taken four years of dedicated work to become a reality.
During World War I the Aussies and their Waler horses excelled themselves setting legendary feats of endurance, bravery and toughness and today most people associate the Waler with its heroic part in the Battles of the Middle East in World War I.
Defining the Waler
A fine, outstanding horse showing remarkable bone and robustness, the Waler has many excellent attributes. Its jumping ability is well known and can be seen in the length of gaskin, splendid quarters and well-formed hocks. His comfort as a riding horse shows in his long ground-covering walk coming from a good, well sloped shoulder, strong back, powerful legs, big clean joints and correctly sloped pasterns, at an angle corresponding to the shoulder. His stamina and endurance are unsurpassed, his chest spaced for plenty of heart and lung room, his girth deep through and his ribs well sprung. His head is set low, giving a sweeping, refined appearance. His head is alert, big between the eyes and kindly, well set onto a graceful but strong neck that gives a good length of rein. As befitting a cavalry horse, some carry their heads high, to protect the rider. He is like a heavy hunter, his make-up originates from a diverse mix of pony, draught, coach and riding horse.
From the pony he has gained agility and hardiness.
From the draught, mighty bone and strength, a little feather and white marking from the Clydesdale, a big gut so he can do well, broad back and magnificent quarters from the Suffolk punch.
From his coaching predecessors he gained good wind, hard hooves and iron legs.
From the thoroughbred, he inherited speed, grace, courage, his good shoulder, deep girth and well-formed joints.
From his early breeding days on huge stations, and subsequent years in the wild, he has learned to survive, as few horses can, to live well and prosper on the basics and does not seek nor need the soft life. Colours? Basically bay, chestnut, black, brown and grey. Some taffy colouring is often seen in the mane and tail, which is full to keep him warm in the cold night winds of a harsh environment.
White leg and facial markings are not uncommon and he is not embarrassed at some fetlock or lower leg feather. His feet are tough and open, the frog well defined, not flattened underneath, so he avoids stone bruising or sliding in sand and mud. Perhaps heavier than is fashionable, quiet temperament, the Waler is truly a horse for all seasons.
Walers today are categorised into one of four different types, Pony, Light, Medium and Heavy.
The versatility, speed and stamina of Walers make them very competitive in all forms of equine sport including Endurance, Dressage, Eventing, Show Jumping, Cutting, Roping and Pony Club. There are Walers currently competing, and excelling, in Endurance, Dressage, Eventing and Barrel Racing.
Also, with their kind temperament and loyal nature, Walers are ideal for youngsters to participate on at Pony Club and a good horse for inexperienced horse owners.
Walers are also great for Trail Riding and Recreational/Pleasure riding due to their loyal nature and "go all day" stamina.
Today some Walers are still brought in from the wild or off outback stations, but there are several Waler Studs throughout Australia, increasing the number of horses with the Waler bloodline.
For more information visit www.walerhorse.com