Australian Stock Horse Article and Photos Copyrighted - see credits below
The Australian Stock Horse has long been known as a great mount for sport, for general pleasure riding and for those jobs on the farm still best performed on horseback.
By the time World War I had ended, the Australian horses had earned high recognition as being the world’s finest cavalry horses and they were exported heavily to the Allied Armies in Indian, Africa, Palestine and Europe. Many of these horses of course, never returned home.
Being of a distinctive type, there was no stud book or registry until 1971 when a society was formed to preserve the Australian Stock Horse, the working horse of Australia, once called the Waler.
This breed’s predecessors were used in New South Wales and Queensland during the 1880’s as transport and carriage horses. One coach company alone, is recorded as operating over six thousand miles!
In the original settling of Australia, horses were imported mainly from South Africa and Europe. The most valued were the Thoroughbred and the Arabian. Originally the local stockmen sought to create an agile working stock horse with great endurance because that was their very great need, as well as a horse of great endurance for transport and the Australian Stock Horse, as it is now known was produced. Mares of good substance, conformation and proven working ability were crossed with mainly Thoroughbreds although a few Arabians were used. After the 1950’s American Quarter Horse blood was also introduced.
The horsemen of Australia have been as a matter of record, very able in producing a good riding horse that stands up to hard work, but is capable of doing a wide variety of jobs on the country’s large sheep stations. The stock horse they produced, that is now a breed, is tough but with a lot of quality about him.
The Australian Stock Horse also dominates the list of champion show jumpers in Australia. This horse is further considered the fastest and best at polo, with successful polo-crosse horses being numerous too.
But nowhere is this brilliant horse enjoyed as much as in the Australian sport of Campdrafting. Success requires the horse to be well endowed with cow sense, and he has it! Campdrafting is demanding, thrilling sport, requiring intelligence, strength and ability of both horse and rider, as a cow is cut out of a camp, held for a bit, then driven around a course of two pegs forming a figure eight, then around a third pen and through a gate.
The Australian Stock Horse can gallop through bush after sheep of cattle, and often does so in high climate temperatures. This requires a horse of endurance, but further a horse with good balance.
COMFORMATION AND ENDURANCE
It should be no surprise that this breed had a well proportioned neck and sloping shoulder. An ideal representative has an alert, intelligent head and broad forehead, with a large nostril and eye. A good length neck sets into sloped shoulders. The withers is slightly higher than the croup. Deep chest, good spring of ribs and strong back , with good legs and musculature, wide and deep in the thigh. The whole of the Australian Stock Horse should be in balance according to its size. The average height is 14 to 16 hands.
It is recorded that an Australian mounted corps traveled almost 200 miles in 4 days with temperatures of 100. Still today, with the great heat of the sun, station hands and the Stock Horse, cover long very distances, and work while they go.
The 2nd and 3rd photos in the row above showing the excellence of the Australian Stock Horse competing in a time trial and Campdrafting are Tracey Bavington. A time trial is a stock horse event where the horse has a set course to complete -- open a gate, jump, go around barrels, do tight turns, jump logs and then trot to the finish line -- all to show their working ability. The fastest horse wins.
All photos on this page are of the stallion Binnia Gunslinger and have been graciously provided, copyright, by Jaybee Australian Stock Horse Stud;owned by Jamie and Tanya Shaw of New South Wales.
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