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The Australian Stock Horse – the Man from Snowy River – Sydney Olympics

Australian Stock Horses featured in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics in the year 2000, at Sydney.  A clip of these wonderful horses follows.  Click on the “square” at the bottom right of the video to view it in Full Screen.


In early Australia, horses were bred for stamina and durability.  The roots of the Australian Stock Horse date back to the earliest importation of horses to Australia, with the arrival of the First Fleet in Botany Bay in January, 1788.  The Australian Stock Horse is used today in a wide variety of disciplines, and is still valued as a working horse by stockmen and stockwomen throughout Australia.

Originally all Australian horses came from New South Wales (thus the name Waler), but as the settlers spread throughout the continent, they took their horses with them.  In 1846 the term Waler was coined by the British.  The Australian Army used the Waler in the First World War.  The Waler received worldwide recognition through the success of the Australian Light Horse regiments.  These horses were shipped abroad to fight in war and were required to carry a rider with the considerable extra weight of weapons and a full pack.

The Australian Stock Horse is different to the Waler, although the name “Waler” was given to the early or first Australian Stock Horses.

Formal recognition of Australian Stock Horses as a distinct breed began in June 1971 when the Australian Stock Horse Society was formed.  The Society bred many of the well known sires and brood mares, that had bred the Waler, to the more modern breeds, developing a modern refined type of Australian horse which became known as the Australian Stock Horse.

As in all horse breeds, temperament can vary, but the best Australian Stock Horses are quiet, strong, intelligent, agile, hard working, courageous and versatile.  All colours are acceptable. Height ranges from 14 hands to 16.2 hands.

Initially, horses were inspected for registraton by three classifiers who assessed them for conformation, breeding and athletic ability. The best were accepted for inclusion in the Stud book.  Fourteen specific foundation sires are responsible for most of the bloodlines accepted into the Society Australia-wide.






Australian Stock Horse

Artist’s impression of good conformation Australian Stock Horse

from the Australian Stock Horse Society

“The Man from Snowy River” sung by Slim Dusty


Read the poem, “The Man from Snowy River” by Banjo Patterson – by clicking here

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